The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is responsible for providing safe food to citizens. The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, laid down guidelines to provide pure and wholesome foods to consumers. The Act was last amended in 1986 to make punishments more stringent and to empower consumers further.
Food adulteration is the addition or mixing of inferior, harmful, substandard, useless or unnecessary substances to foods. This spoils the nature and quality of food items and is considered food adulteration.
1. Milk Adulteration:
In India, which is the land of cows, large quantities of milk are adulterated. Milk adulteration involves adding water to milk and removing the beneficial fats from milk. Often soya milk, starch, groundnut milk, and wheat flour are added to milk. This makes the milk less nutritious and it results in milk being useless for the consumer.
2. Adulteration of Fats and Oils:
It is easy to adulterate oils and fats. But it is difficult to detect such adulteration. Ghee is often mixed with hydrogenated oils and animal fats. Synthetic colours and flavours are added to other fats to make them appear like ghee.
3. Food Grain Adulteration:
Food grain adulteration involves mixing sand or crushed stones to increase the weight of food grains. Cereal grains and pulses are mixed with plastic beads that resemble grains in colour and size. Very often, water is also sprayed on grains to increase the weight.
4. Other Adulterations:
Chilli powder is often mixed with brick powder, while tea leaves are often mixed with used tea leaves. These adulterations are very harmful to the consumer and they should be addressed by consumer organizations and consumers seriously.