Report On Food Adulteration

					Food adulteration is probably not a term that people are familiar with. That being said, it's
important to know where your food comes from and what sort of practices are used in
manufacturing the food that you consume. As the organically grown movement grows,
people have become more interested in growing and farming methods. Contaminated
foods and drinks are common sources of infection. Among the more common infections
that one can get from contaminated foods and drinks are typhoid fever Escherichia coli
infections, shigellosis or bacillary dysentery, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, other
salmonelloses, cholera, rotavirus infections, also a variety of worm infestations. Many of
the infectious diseases transmitted in food and water can also be acquired directly
through the faecal-oral route.

Food adulteration
Food Adulteration is the act of intentionally debasing the quality of food offered for sale
either by the admixture or substitution of inferior substances or by the removal of some
valuable ingredient. Food is declared adulterated if:

      a substance is added which depreciates or injuriously affects it
      cheaper or inferior substances are substituted wholly or in part
      any valuable or necessary constituent has been wholly or in part abstracted
      it is an imitation
      it is colored or otherwise treated, to improve its appearance or if it contains any
       added substance injurious to health

Food-preservatives have a very extensive use, which often constitutes adulteration. Salt is
the classic preservative, but is seldom classified as an adulterant. Salicylic, benzoic, and
boric acids, and their sodium salts, formaldehyde, ammonium fluoride, sulphurous acid
and its salts are among the principal preservatives.
Many of these appear to be innocuous, but there is danger that the continued use of food
preserved by these agents may be injurious. Some preservatives have been conclusively
shown to be injurious when used for long periods.

                                             Coal-tar colours are employed a great deal,
                                             pickles     and   canned   vegetables    are
                                             sometimes coloured green with copper salts;
                                             butter is made more yellow by anatta;
                                             turmeric is used in mustard and some cereal
                                             preparations. Apples are the basis for many
                                             jellies, which are coloured so as to simulate
                                             finer ones. In confectionery, dangerous
colours, such as chrome yellow, prussian blue, copper and arsenic compounds are
employed. Yellow and orange-coloured sweets are to be suspected. Artificial flavouring
compounds are employed in the concoction of fruit syrups, especially those used for soda
water. Milk is adulterated with water, and indirectly by removing the cream. The addition
of water may introduce disease germs. Cream is adulterated with gelatin, and
formaldehyde is employed as a preservative for it. Butter is adulterated to an enormous
extent with oleomargarine, a product of beef fat. Brick dust in chilli powder, coloured
chalk powder in turmeric, injectable dyes in
watermelon, peas, capsicum, brinjal, papaya seeds in
black pepper etc.

To avoid illness, one is advised to select foods with
care.   All   raw    foods   must   be   checked   for
contamination particularly in areas where hygiene
and sanitation are inadequate. One is advised to avoid
salads, uncooked vegetables, and unpasteurised milk and milk products such as cheese,
and to eat only food that has been cooked and is still hot. Undercooked and raw meat,
fish, and shellfish can carry various intestinal pathogens. Cooked food that has been
allowed to stand for several hours at ambient temperature can provide a fertile medium
for bacterial growth and should be thoroughly reheated before serving. Consumption of
food and beverages obtained from street food vendors has been associated with an
increased risk of illness.


Food adulterants can be traced back as far as 1820. Frederick Accum, a German chemist,
investigated the use of adulterants when he identified metal colorings in drink and food
that turned out to be toxic. Food suppliers during this time were upset by Accum's work
and he was discredited. However, Arthur Hill Hassall, a physician, later conducted
studies, which were published and led to further legislation and the 1860 Food
Adulteration Act.

Common Food Adulterants

      Mogdad coffee, whose seeds have been used as an adulterant for coffee
      Roasted chicory roots, whose seeds have been used similarly, starting during the
       Napoleonic era in France (and continuing until today as a moderately popular
       additive for cheaper coffee)
      Roasted ground peas, beans, or wheat, which have been used to adulterate roasted
      Diethylene glycol, used by some winemakers to fake sweet wines
      Oleomargarine or lard, added to butter
      Rapeseed oil, commonly added to sunflower oil and soybean oil, brassicasterol
       being a marker of its presence
      Rye flour, corn meal or potato starch, used to dilute more expensive flours; alum
       is also added to disguise usage of lower-quality flour
      Apple jellies, as substitutes for more expensive fruit jellies, with added colorant
       and sometimes even specks of wood that simulate strawberry seeds
      Artificial colorants, often toxic - e.g., copper, zinc, or indigo-based green dyes
       added to absinthe
      Sudan I yellow color, added to chili powder, as well as Sudan Red for red color
      Water, for diluting milk and beer and hard drinks
      Low quality black tea, marketed as higher quality tea
      Starch, added to sausages
      Cutting agents, often used to adulterate (or "cut") illicit drugs - for example, shoe
       polish in solid cannabis
      Urea, melamine and other non-protein nitrogen sources, added to protein products
       in order to inflate crude protein content measurements
      Powdered beechnut husk aromatized with cinnamic aldehyde, marketed as
       powdered cinnamon.
      High fructose corn syrup or cane sugar, used to adulterate honey; C4 sugars serve
       as markers, as detected by carbon isotopic signatures
      Glutinous rice coloring made of hazardous industrial dyes, as well as tinopal to
       make rice noodles whiter (to serve as bleach)
      Noodles, meat, fish, tofu preserved with formaldehyde in tropical Asia, to prevent
       spoilage from the sun


Some examples of adulterating food by adding
substances to them include: Selling sugar water that
has been artificially flavored and claiming that it's
apple juice; spraying water on grain that's being
stored   to   increase   its    value   and   weight;
contaminating    milk    or    infant   formula   with
melamine. Adding "fillers" to foods instead of using pure ingredients is probably the
most common form of food adulteration.

Here are dangerous ill-effects of some common adulterants in food substances
Tea: Artificially colored saw dust or foreign leaves are mixed in tea leaves or teas dust.
This leads to cancer and several health hazards.

Milk: Not only water but also starch, wheat flour, rice flour, arrow root etc are added to
milk. Also dangerous substances like Pulverized soaps, detergents, Ammonium sulphate,
Urea, boric acid are also added lead to cancers, Acute Renal failure etc.

Coffee Powder: Coffee powder is adulterated with roasted chicory. In recent days it is
found that mixture of coal, clay, indigo and lead chromate are added to coffee powder
which leads to paralysis and brain damage.

Ghee (Clarified Butter): Merchants used to adulterate Ghee by using vanaspathi
(hydrogenated vegetable fat), but these days it is adulterated in a dangerous way; that is
the bones of cows, donkeys, monkeys, horses, pigs, dogs etc were boiled in a huge pan
and the obtained fat is added to ghee and mixed with some scented substances. This leads
to chronic chest infections.

Food grains and pulses: Stones, sand and filth are mixed in food grains and pulses
which damage the digestive tract.

Edible oils and fats: If the edible oils or fats are adulterated with Argemone oil, it leads
to Glaucoma and sometimes cardiac arrest and the adulterant white oil and other
petroleum fractions lead to cancer. In case oils are adulterated with Rancid oils it destroys
vitamin A and E whereas if the adulterant is TCP it leads to severe paralysis.

Mustard seeds: Argemone seeds are mixed in mustard seeds and lead to epidemic

Turmeric powder: Turmeric powder is adulterated with lead chromate. This leads to
paralysis, anemia, brain damage and abortion.

Alcoholic liquors: These are contaminated with methanol which cause blindness and
often death.

Fruits: It is a sad thing that these immoral merchants won’t leave even the natural foods.
Fruits particularly apples and mangoes are sprayed over with lead arsenate that leads to
chills, cramps, paralysis and death.

Injurious Adulterants/Contaminants in Foods and their Health Effects

S.No              Adulterant                    Foods Commonly            Diseases or Health
                                                   Involved                      Effects

          Adulterants in food
1         Argemone seeds                  Mustard seeds               Epidemic dropsy,

          Argemone oil                    Edible oils and fats        Glaucoma,

                                                                      Cardiac arrest
2         Artificially coloured foreign   As a substitute for cumin   Injurious to health
          seeds                           seed,

                                          Poppy seed, black pepper
3         Foreign       leaves      or    Tea                         Injurious to health, cancer
          exhausted tea leaves, saw

     dust artificially coloured
4    TCP                                 Oils                                  Paralysis
5    Rancid oil                          Oils                                  Destroys vitamin A and E
6    Sand,        marble     chips,      Food grains, pulses etc.              Damage digestive tract
     stones, filth
7    Lathyrus sativus                    Khesari dal alone or Mixed            Lathyrism (crippling spastic
                                         in other pulses                       paraplegia)

8    Mineral      oil   (white    oil,   Edible oils and fats, Black           Cancer
     petroleum fractions)                pepper
9    Lead chromate                       Turmeric          whole        and    Anemia, abortion, paralysis,
                                         powdered, mixed spices                brain damage
10   Methanol                            Alcoholic liquors                     Blurred      vision,      blindness,
11                                       Fruits    such       as      apples   Dizziness,      chills,     cramps,
                                         sprayed      over     with     lead   paralysis, death
12                                       Foods contaminated by rat             Violent peristalisis, arterial
                                         poisons (Barium carbonate)            hypertension,             muscular
                                                                               twitching,             convulsions,
                                                                               cardiac disturbances
13                                       Fruit juices, soft drinks, etc.       ‘Itai-itai             (ouch-ouch)
                                         in contact with cadmium               disease,                  Increased
                                         plated           vessels         or   salivation,     acute      gastritis,
                                         equipment.                Cadmium     liver and kidney damage,
                                         contaminated         water     and    prostrate cancer
14                                       Water, liquors                        Cardiac       insufficiency     and
                                                                               mycocardial failure
15                                       Water,           natural       and    Lead poisoning (foot-drop,
                                         processed food                        insomnia,                   anemia,
                                                                               constipation,                mental
                                                                               retardation, brain damage)

16                               Food                            Vomiting, diarrhoea

17                               Food                            Colic, vomiting

18                               Food                            Colic, vomiting

19                               Mercury fungicide treated       Brain   damage,      paralysis,
                                 seed    grains   or   mercury   death
                                 contaminated fish

NOTE: Safe limits have been prescribed for above metals in different
food. Continuous use of food contaminated with these metals beyond
safe limits may cause these diseases

20                               Cereal products, custards,      Food     infection    (nausea,
      Bacillus cereus
                                 puddings, sauces                vomiting,     abdominal   pain,
21                               Meat and meat products,         Salmonellosis (food infection
      Salmonella spp.
                                 raw     vegetables,   salads,   usually with fever and chills)
                                 shell-fish, eggs and egg
                                 products,         warmed-up
22                               Milk, potato, beans, poultry,   Shigellosis           (bacillary
      Shigella sonnei
                                 tuna, shrimp, moist mixed       dysentery)
23                               Dairy products, baked foods     Increased            salivation,
      Staphylococcus aureus
                                 especially custard or cream-    vomiting, abdominal cramp,
                                 filled foods, meat and meat     diarrhoea, severe thirst, cold
      Entero-toxins-A,B,C,D or

     E                               products,   low-acid   frozen   sweats, prostration
                                     foods,      salads,    cream
                                     sauces, etc.
24                                   Defectively canned low or       Botulism      (double      vision,
     Clostridium botulinus
                                     medium-acid foods; meats,       muscular      paralysis,   death
                                     sausages, smoked vacuum-        due to respiratory failure)
                                     packed fish, fermented food
     A,B,E or F
25                                   Milk improperly processed       Nausea, abdominal pains,
                                     or canned meats, fish and       diarrhoea, gas formation
                                     gravy stocks
     (Welchii) type A
26                                   Meat                            Sterlites, fibroid tumors etc.
     Diethyl stilbestrol (additive
     in animal feed)

27                                   Skoked food                     Cancer
     3,4 Benzopyrene

28                                   Solvent extracted oil, oil      Carcinogenic effect
     Excessive solvent residue
                                     cake etc.
29                                   Food                            Blood clot, angiosarcoma,
     Non-food grade or
                                                                     cancer etc.
     contaminated packing

30                                   Coloured food                   Mental retardation, cancer
     Non-permitted colour or
                                                                     and other toxic effect.
     permitted food colour
     beyond safe limit

31                                   Oils and fats                   Allergy,      liver     damage,
     BHA and BHT beyond
                                                                     increase         in        serum
     safe limit
                                                                     chloresterol etc.
32                                   Chinese food, meat and          Brain      damage,         mental
                                     meat products                   retardation in infants
     glutamate(flour) (beyond
     safe limit)

33                                   Flavoured food                  Blood anticoagulant
     Coumarin and dihydro

34                                Flavoured food                       Chances of liver cancer
     Food flavours beyond safe

35                                Cold drinks                          Anemia,      enlargement        of
     Brominated vegetable oils
36                                In   variety     of     food   as    Acute irritation of the gastro-
     Sulphur dioxide and
                                  preservative                         intestinal tracts etc.
     sulphite beyond safe limit

37                                Sweet foods                          Chances of cancer
     Artificial sweetners
     beyond safe limit

38                                Aspergillus                flavus-   Liver damage and cancer
                                  contaminated foods such as
                                  groundnuts, cottonseed, etc.
39                                Ergot-infested        bajra,   rye   Ergotism (St.Anthony’s fire-
     Ergot alkaloids from
                                  meal or bread                        burning       sensation         in
     Claviceps purpurea Toxic
                                                                       extremities, itching of skin,
     alkaloids, ergotamine,
                                                                       peripheral gangrene)
     ergotoxin and ergometrine

40                                Grains (millet, wheat, oats,         Alimentary                   toxic
     Toxins from
                                  rye,etc)                             aleukia(ATA)             (epidemic
     Fusarium sporotrichioides
41                                Moist grains                         Urov disease (Kaschin-Beck
     Toxins from Fusarium

42                                Yellow rice                          Toxic mouldy rice disease
     Toxins from

     Penicillium inslandicum

     Penicillium atricum,

     Penicillium citreovirede,

     Fusarium, Rhizopus,

43                               Foodgrains                             Hepatitis
     Sterigmatocystin from

     Aspergillus versicolour

     Aspergillus nidulans and
44                               Any     raw food or water              Ascariasis
     Ascaris lumbricoides
                                 contaminated           by     human
                                 faces containing eggs of the
45                               Raw vegetables and fruits              Amoebic dysentery
     Entamoeba histolytica


46                               Shell-fish,     milk,       unheated   Infectious hepatitis
     Virus of infectious
                                 foods       contaminated        with
                                 faeces, urine and blood of
     Hepatitis (virus A)
                                 infected human
47                               Foods       contaminated        with   Bolivian haemorrhagic fever
     Machupo virus
                                 rodents       urine,    such     as

48                               Drinking water, sea foods,             Excess       fluoride   causes
                                 tea, etc.                              fluorosis (mottling of teeth,
                                                                        skeletal     and   neurological

49                              Spinach, amaranth, etc.                Renal calculi, cramps, failure
     Oxalic acid
                                                                       of blood to clot
50                              Cottonseed flour and cake              Cancer

51                              Bitter almonds, apple seeds,           Gastro-intestinal
     Cyanogenetic compounds
                                cassava, some beans etc.               disturbances
52                              Smoked fish, meat, mineral             Cancer
     Polycyclic Aromatic
                                oil-contaminated water, oils,
                                fats   and    fish,       especially
53                              Toxic mushrooms                        Mushroom                poisoning
     Phalloidine (Alkaloid)
                                                                       (Hypoglycemia, convulsions,
                                                                       profuse        watery         stools,
                                                                       severe     necrosis      of     liver
                                                                       leading to hepatic failure and
54                              Potatoes                               Solanine                poisoning
                                                                       (vomiting, abdominal pain,
55                              Drinking      water,        spinach    Methaemoglobinaemia
     Nitrates and Nitrites
                                rhubarb,     asparagus,         etc.   especially in infants, cancer
                                and meat products                      and tumours in the liver,
                                                                       kidney, trachea oesophagus
                                                                       and lungs. The liver is the
                                                                       initial site    but     afterwards
                                                                       tumours       appear     in    other
56                              Polished          rice,     pulses,    Absorption      in      particulate
     Asbestos (may be
                                processed foods containing             form     by    the    body      may
     present in talc, Kaolin,
                                anti-caking agents, etc.               produce cancer
     etc. and in processed

57                              All types of food                      Acute or chronic poisoning
     Pesticide residues
                                                                       with damage to nerves and
     (beyond safe limit)
                                                                       vital organs like liver, kidney,

58                                 Meats     from   antibiotic-fed   Multiple   drug   resistance
       Antibiotics (beyond safe
                                   animals                           hardening of arteries, heart

How to Prevent Food Adulteration?
Like any other crime, food adulteration would continue. However, everyone will wish
that this menace, like any other crime, be controlled significantly. Food adulteration is
common in almost all developing countries. But its ugly face is not the same everywhere.
In a developing country which is at the lowest rung of the development ladder, food
adulteration consists of relatively simple measures. The enforcers which mean the
government, municipal bodies and all others responsible directly or indirectly with the
control of food adulteration will opine that the control of this menace needs a number of
measures; only legal enforcement will not be enough. The basic requirements are
providing adequate food supply at a reasonable price, setting up of realistic food
standards which are enforceable and which can be attained by majority of the traders (not
only the big food industries but the common agricultural producers, traders and the
medium and petty food processor), the minimum basic honesty on the part of the traders
and the law enforcers, a band of committed inspectorate staff and of course, a harsh
deterrent punishment for those who commit this crime. It has been mentioned for decades
that if deterrent punishment is prescribed for food adulteration, this crime will disappear.

Food adulteration in Bangladesh
The people of Bangladesh are the victims of food adulteration. But effective measures to
check this public health related problem are not in sight. They expressed concern over
mixing toxic substances with all types of fruits in the current fruit season by the
unscrupulous traders, and asked the government to take appropriate measures to protect
public health. Food encompasses cereals, starchy tubers, meat and fish, pulses,
vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk and milk products, fats and oils, and flavourings and
stimulants. According to the Pure Food Ordinance, 1959 "food means any article used as
food or drink for human consumption, other than water or drug, and includes ice and
aerated water, and any substance which is intended for use in the composition or

preparation of food; any flavouring matter or any spice or condiment; and any colouring
matter intended for use in food." The problem of food adulteration has, however, reached
an alarming stage at marketing level. Hardly any category of food, whether cereal,
vegetables, fish or meat, milk or milk products, fruits, pulses, fats and oils, is available in
the markets unadulterated. The areas of concern for the public health scientists, members
of medical profession, Consumers' Association of Bangladesh (CAB), and civil society
members include: (a) using urea fertilizer and artificial colour for processing rice to make
it whiter and colourful; (b) spraying harmful and spurious chemicals on fruits for early
ripening, increasing shelf-life, and providing attractive gloss on the skin; (c) colouring
vegetables with harmful dyes for giving a look of freshness; (d) using formalin, a
chemical used by the medical students to prevent dead bodies from degrading, in fish to
make them appear fresh; (e) artificial colouring of pulses; (f) adulterating milk and milk
products including sweetmeat; and (g) adulterating aerated water. The public health
scientists and members of the medical profession have warned that if the alarming
situation of food adulteration is not checked, people's health will be at stake, and
particularly the country's future generation will suffer from many complicated diseases
and in the long run they may get intellectually disabled.
There are laws to ensure supply of safe food and foodstuff for protection and preservation
of public health. The Pure Food Ordinance, 1959, is intended to curb and remedy the evil
of food adulteration.

The Pure Food Rules, 1967, contains the details for the purpose of carrying out the
objectives of the Pure Food Ordinance, 1959.

The Cantonments Pure Food Act, 1966, and the Cantonment Pure Food Rules, 1967, aim
at preventing the adulteration of food in cantonments.

The Pesticide Ordinance, 1971, including the amendments of 1980 and 1983 and the
rules made thereunder in 1985 aim at regulating the import, manufacture, distribution,
sale and use of pesticide chemicals. Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute (BSTI)
Ordinance, 1985, and the rules made thereunder, relate to the testing and quality control
of certain industrial and commercial products including food and drinks.

The reasons for widespread adulteration of food and foodstuff in Bangladesh may
be identified as follows:

First, a number of organisations such as health department, food department, BSTI, city
corporations, municipalities, police department, etc. are responsible, severally and
collectively, for the enforcement of food laws. But there is a lack of effective
coordination among them. There even exists confusion among them regarding certain
action(s) to be taken to combat adulteration of food. A report published in The Daily Star
of March 13, 2004, regarding the use of formalin in fish showed that top officials of the
Ministry of Health, Dhaka City Corporation, Public Health Laboratory, and BSTI pointed
fingers at one another, no-one knowing which body should combat the practice of using
formalin in fish.

Second, food laws mentioned above have become inadequate to cope with the advanced
techniques of food adulteration. So, these laws have to be updated keeping in view the
prevailing circumstances of adulteration.

Third, as far as it is known, there is no coordinating body in the government to oversee
and monitor the enforcement of food laws by different organisations under different

Fourth, adulteration of food affects people at all strata of the society. But political parties
in the country are not normally seen raising their voice for combating food adulteration
problem. Further, the rules of procedure (ROP) of parliament contain provision for
discussing matters of public interest in the House. But hardly any discussion on this
matter of general public interest takes place in parliament.

Fifth, the common people of the country are not conscious about the disastrous effects of
adulterated food and foodstuff on human health. The traders, both wholesalers and
retailers, face no resistance from the relevant government agencies and the people in the
operation of their unholy business.

The public health scientists, the agricultural scientists, the CAB and the civil society
leaders have come out with their views and suggestions to combat the food adulteration
problem in the country. These include:

*Since the continued use of chemical pesticides has been a matter of growing public
concern for their effects on human health, wildlife, and the environment, steps should be
taken to reduce chemical pesticide use in favour of integrated pest management,
biological controls, and plant breeding for inherent pest resistance.

*Chemicals sprayed on fruits and vegetables should be tested in properly equipped
laboratories to ascertain the ingredients injurious to human health. An expert committee
should closely monitor the results of these tests. Follow up action(s) should be taken on
the recommendations of the expert committee.

* Food laws have not only to be updated keeping in view the prevailing circumstances of
food adulteration, but their strict enforcement has to be ensured.

* A high-powered coordinating body in the government may be established to oversee
the enforcement of food laws and government policies in this regard.

* Political parties should raise their voice, both inside and outside the parliament for
combating the food adulteration problem.

*The CAB and the civil society leaders have been demanding enactment of an act for
protecting the rights of the consumers. It is learnt the draft law is awaiting approval of the
cabinet. Since the proposed law will have impact on the rich and the poor, the
government may solicit the opinion of the people and the media by disclosing the draft
law to the print media. This will help the cabinet in according approval in principle to the
draft law. Our lawmakers may also be benefited from the public opinion in the passage of
the law.

*Public awareness about the hazardous effects of consumption of adulterated food has to
be built. The consumers, particularly the rich consumers, should restrain themselves from
the buying spree. This will act as a silent resistance to the unscrupulous traders' business.



Description: Food adulteration is probably not a term that people are familiar with. That being said, it's important to know where your food comes from and what sort of practices are used in manufacturing the food that you consume. As the organically grown movement grows, people have become more interested in growing and farming methods. Contaminated foods and drinks are common sources of infection. Among the more common infections that one can get from contaminated foods and drinks are typhoid fever Escherichia coli infections, shigellosis or bacillary dysentery, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, other salmonelloses, cholera, rotavirus infections, also a variety of worm infestations. Many of the infectious diseases transmitted in food and water can also be acquired directly through the faecal-oral route.