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Food is the basic necessity of life.

Food is the basic necessity of life. The food we eat is absorbed by our body and is used to run metabolic processes and sustain life. Food is essential for growth, and various life processes. An array of food in our daily diet includes, vegetables, fruits, legumes, pulses, grains, etc. All of these either consumed raw or made into delicacies and savored. But, nowadays, you might have seen very thin milk due to mixing with water, white, yellow or black pebbles in raw pulses, white tiny stones mixed with rice, and so on. This mixing of elements with food items is adulteration. As we deal with the overgrowing population, environmental hazards, and depleting natural resources, one of the man-made hazards is the adulteration of food. When food is contaminated with external sources or when its natural composition or quality is changed, it is adulterated. Food adulteration has serious effects on our health. Despite various measures taken by the government, spreading awareness about the hazards of food adulteration, it is a prevalent practice in many countries. Various methods of food adulteration are deployed by the food industries using various chemical and synthetic substances.

Adulteration is a legal offense and when the food fails to meet the legal standards set by the government, it is said to have been adulterated. Food adulteration takes place when intentionally or unintentionally substances that degrade the quality of food are added to it. Thus, food adulteration can be defined as the contamination or adulteration of food or food materials by adding harmful substances to it.

The substances that lower the quality of food, when added to it are called adulterants. It is a substance found within other food substances that hamper the natural quality of the food. The adulterant may be present in any form and in any quantity. Adulterants are mostly harmful and pose the ability to lower the potency of the product. Even if the adulterant is not harmful, it reduces the nutritional value of the food to a greater extent. Some adulterants are also identified as carcinogenic or lethal when exposed to for a longer period. Different types of adulterants are used to adulterate different types of food.

Mixing of pulses with sand particles, pebbles. Mixing milk with water. Mixing oil with chemical derivatives or cheaper oils. Packing low quality food products with fresh and high quality ones. These are a few examples of food adulteration.

For many years, you might have noticed the practice of adding water to milk to increase its quantity and gain more profit from less volume of milk. Similarly, food adulteration is done by food manufacturers and industries for various reasons.

There are four different types of food adulteration.

Various food adulteration methods are as follows-

Food adulteration has a great impact on our health. Be it any kind of adulteration, prolonged consumption of this type of food is very harmful to the body. Consuming such food increases the toxicity in the body. As the nutritional value of the adulterated food goes down, such food is not anymore nutritive for the body. The addition of chemical adulterants and colors many times prove to be fatal. As they pose an onset of health risks and also carcinogens. Some adulterated food may also affect our internal organs directly leading to heart, kidney, liver, and many more organ disorders and failure.

Food adulteration has many ill effects on our health. Prolonged consumption of adulterated food may even prove to be lethal. The use of organic food is more trending these days, as organic foods give us the complete nutrition that a particular food is supposed to give. It is not laden with harmful chemicals or polished with toxins like wax. But, due to low productivity, organic food is not always available and is more expensive than the common produce. Therefore, it is important to detect if your food is adulterated. Various home methods can be used to do this. Example- To determine if milk is adulterated with detergents, take some milk in a bottle along with some water and shake it well. If it settles into a frothy layer, it is pure. If the milk is adulterated, it forms a thick layer. Similarly, if you want to know if milk, sugar or jaggery is adulterated with chalk powder, take your sample and mix in a glass of water. Any precipitate at the bottom of the glass indicates the presence of chalk. To determine if the vegetables are polished with color, soak them in water for some time and you will be able to see the color getting dissolved in water.

The addition of any substance by any means that alters the quality of food is food adulteration. The substance which is added is called adulterant. Mixing fresh food with low-quality ones is also adulteration.

A few home tests may help to identify if the milk is adulterated. This includes mixing and shaking of milk and checking for any precipitates to confirm the presence of chalk powder in milk. A frothy layer indicates the presence of detergent, and a very light and free-flowing drop of the sample indicates that the milk is adulterated with water.

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