Buying food from trusted sources is essential for our short-term and long-term health and well-being. This is especially important since instances of adulteration are becoming almost ubiquitous nowadays. It is important to safeguard yourself against its ill effects. Wondering how to verify whether your store-bought food items have been tampered with? To raise public awareness, the FSSAI (Food And Safety Standards Authority of India) often shares simple adulteration tests that people can conduct at home. Here are five of them that you must check out:
5 Easy Food Adulteration Tests You Can Perform At Home, Shown By FSSAI
Spices can be fairly expensive. Hence, apart from health concerns, adulteration of spices also implies a waste of a significant amount of money. Saffron is considered to be among the priciest spices. Thus, it is no surprise that it is often the target of tampering. The FSSAI has shared a hack for checking if saffron has been adulterated with dried tendrils of maize cob. All you need is a glass of water that has been heated to around 70-80 degrees Celsius. Add a few strands of saffron to the glass and observe what happens. If they release colour slowly, it means that the saffron is unadulterated. If the release is quicker and more intense, you should be wary. Check out the complete demo video here to know more.
2. Black Pepper
Another spice adulteration test you can do at home is for black peppercorns, which are often mixed with blackberries. There’s a very simple way to check whether the peppercorns you have at home are the real deal. Spread a small amount of them on a flat surface like a table. Then press down on the peppercorns using your thumb. If the sample is adulterated, it will break easily – as it contains blackberries. Actual peppercorns are far harder to break using your bare hands. Watch the full video here.
3. Sweet Potato
Apart from spices, vegetables are another basic ingredient category that forms a regular part of our diet. The outward appearance of vegetables may be ‘enhanced’ using artificial dyes to make them more attractive to consumers. For instance, sweet potatoes can be adulterated with Rhodamine B, a chemical dye used for industrial purposes. If you want to test if the potato is safe to consume or not, first dip a cotton ball in water or vegetable oil. Then rub it on the outer surface of the sweet potato. If the cotton ball gets a reddish-violet tinge after being rubbed, it indicates the presence of Rhodamine B. Watch the full video here.
4. Tea Leaves
Tea leaves may also often be adulterated in order to improve their colour. To verify if your leaves have been combined with exhausted tea leaves, you need filter paper and water. Spread the tea leaves on the paper and sprinkle water on it. Then wash the paper under running water until all the leaves have been removed. Take a look at the paper now, against the light. Do you see blackish-brown stains on it? If yes, your tea leaves are adulterated. Find out more here.
5. Cooking Oil
Cooking oil may be contaminated with tri-ortho-cresyl-phosphate, a compound that can result in poisoning. You can use another everyday ingredient to check for this specific kind of adulteration. First, take a small quantity of oil in a bowl or glass. Add a spoonful of yellow butter to the oil. If the colour of the solution changes, it indicates the oil is impure. Watch the complete video here.
Food safety is an individual as well as a collective responsibility. Knowing these tips and tricks can not only help you protect your health but also become a better consumer.