Did you know the food you are eating can be mixed with toxic substances? Know how to check your food at home with these simple tests
We often discuss as clinicians about eating fresh and healthy. We promote or emphasize the importance of use of turmeric, ghee, honey, milk and milk products, besan, black pepper etc. We hear that these foods are beneficial to use in numerous ways from managing blood sugars to building strength and muscles but it is imperative as a consumer of the product to know whether your product meets the purity mark. In this article, I will try and incorporate 8 important foods in your kitchen which you can test at home to understand its purity and will also explain some hidden ingredients which can added as an “adulterant”.
Test To Find Adulteration In Food
The most common added adulterant in ghee are vanaspati, vegetable oil or starch. You can perform these 2 tests to understand the purity of ghee at home.
- Test 1: Take a teaspoon of ghee on your palm. If a teaspoon of ghee melts in your palm by itself, then it is pure.
- Test 2: This test you can try in your kitchen, one of the simplest measures is to heat a teaspoon of ghee in a vessel. If the ghee melts immediately and turns dark brown in colour, then it is pure quality. If it takes time to melt and turns light yellow in colour, it could have adulterant.
Common adulterants in honey are Glucose/sugar syrup, high fructose corn syrup.
Test: To test the purity of honey, add a spoonful of honey to a glass of water. If the honey disperses instantly, it indicates the presence of glucose/sugar syrup. Pure honey is denser and will instead sink to the bottom instead of dissolving instantaneously.
Turmeric or Haldi
Turmeric has healing properties. This wonder spice unfortunately has adulterants too. Some of them are Metanil yellow, lead chromate, chalk powder.
- Test: To test the purity of turmeric at home, one of the easiest ways to check adulteration is to add a teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of warm water. Do not stir it and leave it still for a while. Check after about 20 minutes. If the powder settles down at the bottom of the glass with clear water above, the turmeric is pure. Cloudy water indicates possible adulteration.
- Take some turmeric powder in a transparent glass and add a few drops of water and concentrated hydrochloric acid to it. Next, shake it vigorously. A pink colour to the mixture indicates the presence of metanil yellow. If the mixture releases small bubbles, it indicates the presence of chalk powder.
Peas are in season and it is best for all of us to know if there is any adulterant added and how we will know the purity of our peas. Common Adulterant added are Malachite green.
- Test: To test the sample, Soak the sample in warm water for 30 minutes before rubbing it gently. If the green colour leaks into water, it indicates the presence of malachite green.
- To test peas, Place a sample over a moistened white blotting paper. Green color impressions on the blotting paper indicate the presence of malachite green.
- Test Take a cotton piece soaked in liquid paraffin and rub the exterior of the sample. If the cotton turns, green, it indicates the presence of the chemical dye.
Red chili Powder
Red chilli powder is extensively used in Indian kitchens. The most common adulterants in red chilli powder are artificial colours and brick powder.
Test: To test the purity of red chilli powder, add a teaspoon of chilli powder to a glass of water and stir it. A swirl of bright red colour indicates the presence of artificial colour while the settling of gritty sediment at the bottom of glass indicates the presence of saw dust/brick powder.
Milk and products
Even milk and its products are added with adulterants like starch and detergents.
- Test: Mix a small sample of the product with about 20 ml of water and bring to a boil. Cool to room temperature in a transparent glass and add a drop or two of iodine solution. A blue-coloured solution indicates the presence of starch.
- Mix about 10 ml of a milk sample with an equal quantity of water and shake the mixture vigorously. Milk adulterated with detergent will form a dense lather while pure milk will have a thin layer of foam.
The most common adulterant in sugar is chalk powder. To test the purity of sugars dissolve 10 gm of sample in a glass of water, allow settling, Chalk will settle down at the bottom.
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world which is adulterated with Maize cob.
- Threads of maize are coloured. Genuine saffron will not break easily like artificial saffron. Artificial saffron is prepared by soaking maize cob in sugar and colouring it with coal tar colour. The colour dissolves in water if artificially coloured. A bit of pure saffron when allowed to dissolved in water will continue to give its saffron colour so long as it lasts.
- Test: Take a glass of warm water and add saffron threads. After 20 minutes, water colour will change to yellow in colour or amber in colour. If the colour of water changes immediately or doesn’t change colour at all it has colour added and is not pure.
This article will be covered in a series to help you understand the adulterants in food and make you aware as a consumer.
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