The 'Festival of Colours' is knocking at our door. Holi is celebrated with much fervour and fanfare in northern India. No celebration is complete without sweets, and Holi is no exception. But while Holi is a time for merriment, we should also be alert about what we eat.
During Holi, a wide variety of sweets are available, which satisfying our taste buds. Delicacies like Gujia, Thandai, Lavang Latika, and Khoya Burfiare synonymous with Holi. However, the festival season brings with it high chances of consumption of adulterated food, especially sweets.
Here is a list of food items to avoid during Holi
This drink made with cannabis has always been the main attraction for many during Holi. But unfortunately, ill-prepared bhang can make you really, really sick.
Gujiya, a sweet dumpling made with suji or maida is stuffed with khoya. Sometimes, kesar (saffron) is added to enhance the yellow colour of the sweet. But since kesar is very expensive, kesar gujia will only be available from reliable outlets selling branded products, otherwise, there is a high chance of falling prey to adulteration.
"While buying branded products, check the batch number, manufacture and expiry date, food license number, as well as ISI or AGMARK certifications on the packaging. Also, make sure that the packaging has not been tampered with," said Dr Saurabh Arora, MD (Auriga research and Director at Arbro Pharmaceuticals) and Founder of Food Safety Helpline.
Paneer, khoya and milk are generally adulterated with starch which is used to give a thick, rich texture to sweets. To check for the presence of starch mixed with khoya, take a small sample and mix it with water and bring to the boil. Allow it to cool and add two drops of iodine in the solution. If the solution turns blue, then it has been adulterated with starch.
Thandai, a milk-based summer drink is synonymous with Holi. The popularity of this drink lies in its recipe, which includes a number of ingredients that can be subject to adulteration, particularly during Holi, when the demand increases.
Importantly, synthetic artificial colours and flavours are also used in such drinks, which may not be allowed under the food safety regulations due to their harmful effects. Therefore, it is advisable to buy the ingredients fresh from a reliable retailer and prepare this traditional drink at home.
Look out for these things to avoid adulterated food
- Are food handlers wearing clean clothes?
- Are they wearing gloves while packing sweets from the counter?
- Are they chewing or smoking tobacco?
- Are they touching their mouth, nose, eyes or other body parts?
- Are they spitting, sneezing, or coughing near food?
- Are they handling food and money simultaneously?
OneIndia News (with ANI inputs)