Ludhiana, Nov 30: Have we ever realised or though that our cup of morning tea could be adulterated or the species and ghee used to prepare our lunch or dinner could also contain mixtures that are harmful for health.
Here are some facts from a study by Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) that found that tea leaves are adulterated with addition of used tea leaves and saw dust while spices like chillies and turmeric powder are adulterated to impart brightness in colour and good apperance.
Leaves other than tea leaves are dried, ground and mixed with tea.
Metanil yellow, a carcinogenic agent is used for colouring turmeric powder.
A balanced diet sufficient in all the nutrients is essential for proper functioning of body but by the menace of adulteration, nutrients may be removed or foreign low grade matter is added to it.
Adulterated food is deteriorated enough is quality which can cause physical ailments.
The study found that butter is adulterated with oleomargarine, a product of beef fat and lard is also added to butter.
Root of chicory is common adulterant in coffee and supplemented by peas, beans and roasted ground wheat.
Mixing of infested and damaged grains to good quality grain are quite common in our country. Mustard seeds are often mixed with argemone seeds and extracted together while palm oil is mixed with soybean oil.
Soybean, groundnut milk, wheat flour are mixed with milk and addition of wheat flour semolina to milk powder is common. Urea, detergents and refined oil are mixed with milk.
According to the study, in the name of various fruit juices, imitation products are prepared by using artifical and prohibited ingredients instead of using original fruit juice. Caustic soda and chemicals are being used to increase the shelf-life of milk. Pickles and canned vegetables are sometimes coloured green with copper salt.
Recently a research study conducted by the University's Department of Family Resource Management on selected food items in Ludhiana city has shown startling facts on the basis of household tests.
The study found thirty per cent samples of desi gheee were adulterated with vanaspati while 22.5 per cent samples of mustard oil were adulterated with argemone oil. Sixty Eight per cent samples of jaggery were adulterated with metanil yellow and 47.5 per cent samples of honey were seen to be mixed with invert sugar.
Twenty per cent samples of turmeric powder were adulterated with metanil yellow and chilli powder contained brick powder in 52.5 per cent samples.
Sixty per cent samples of coriander powder were adulterated with sand, grit and papaya seeds were present as adulterant in black pepper in 57.5 per cent samples. Thirty per cent samples of milk were adulterated with water.