What are the Common adulterants present in food products?

• Often stones, grit, mud balls, dry twigs, stems, etc. are mixed with cereals and pulses with the aim to increase the weight.

These are the carriers of infections and on consumption may cause disorders of the stomach. They give bad taste and may damage teeth and gums. Stone, chips can be weeded out. Sand and dust can be separated by winnowing.

• Sometimes insects infected cereals and pulses are sold in the market. Also low quality grains are mixed. If grains eaten up by woodworm are immersed in water, they will start floating.

• Sometimes flour is sold after extracting gluten protein from it or sold after mix­ing up remaining flour on extracting fine flour from it.

• Kesari dal is the adulterant present in Chana and Arhar dal which may lead to paralysis if consumed in excess. In bean more amount of grinded Kesari dal is mixed. Kesari dal is wedge shaped and brownish in colour which can be weeded out.

• Sometimes methanol yellow is used to en­hance the colour and appeal of yellow coloured pulses. On addition of hydrochloric acid and alcohol, appearance of pink colour confirms adulteration of methanol yellow. Pulses should be washed thoroughly to remove it.

• In Bare, argot seeds are added. In 20% salt solution, argot seeds will float on the surface.

• Iron fillings are added to increase the weight of suji. If you pass a magnet through it, they will cling to it.

Milk and milk products


Mostly water is used as an adulterant in milk. Often, water added in milk is not from potable source of water and hence, is a carrier of infections. Apart from this, cream is removed from milk and skimmed milk powder with lots of water is added. Sometimes starch-rich substances like flour of water chestnut, blotting paper, etc. are added to thicken the milk.

• This can be tested by Lactometer test and Freezing test (Page. 272)

• Low quality butter or vanaspati ghee also be added to milk after exit cream.

• Khoya

Mostly adulterated milk is for the preparation of khoya. Prei starch in milk increases the amoi khoya.


Adulterated milk is used in preparation of cheese. Apart from shopkeepers often keep cheese soal water to increase its weight.

Ice cream

It is also made by using treated milk. In addition to this saccl or some cheap sweetener is used. To it more attractive, prohibited and hi colours are also used.

Desi ghee

Mostly the amount of J ghee is increased by adding vanaspi to it. But sometimes animal fats are added. Apart from this, coconut groundnut oil, mahua oil etc. are added.


Butter is made after aid vanaspati ghee to skimmed milk. It commonly adulterated with starch which can be tested by Iodine test (Page 272

Fats and oils

• Low quality less filtered oils like s flower oil, alsi oil, cotton seed oil, etc. used as adulterants in edible oils groundnut, mustard, coconut oil, etc. 01 ten agrimonies oil which is harmful,] mixed with mustard and groundnut oil

• Sometimes oils with foul odour are so in the market as such or after mixing with good quality edible oil.

• Mineral oils being cheap are mixed with other edible oils.

• Either cheap or less filtered oils are mix in Vanaspati ghee, during manufacturing of rancid oil, animal fat is also mixed.

Spices and condiments

Spices and condiments are often adulterated mainly because these are expensive and easy to adulterate. Straw, mud stone chips, cheap, or spoiled spices and condiments or some similar substances are used as adulterants. Spices and condiments are adulterated as follows:

• Brick powder or coloured saw dust is used as adulterant in red chilli powder.

• Methanol yellow or lead chromate is used to enhance the colour of turmeric powder which can be tested by Di-phenyl carbonize test (Page 275).

• Coloured powder of rice or pulses or chalk powder is used as an adulterant in tur­meric powder.

• Papaya seeds are mixed with whole black pepper. Papaya seeds will float on the surface when added to water.

• A coating of mineral oil on whole black pepper is used to stop fungus growth on it.

• Bark of other trees is mixed with cinna­mon. Often thick bark of cassia tree is used as an adulterant.

• Asafetida is adulterated with resins, or with gum. These will settle at the bottom in water.

• Dyed strips of jute, paper or similar foreign materials are used to adulterate saffron.

• Cumin seeds are adulterated with seeds of wild grass.

• Substantial quantities of chaff of pulses may be present in fenugreek seeds and aniseeds.

• Common salt is adulterated with stone dust and dust powder which will settle at the bottom in water solution.

• Dhani powder is adulterated by horse- dung powder, rice, husk, etc. If it is added to water, adulterants will float on the surface.

Sugar, jiggery, and honey

• Sugar. Sugar may have chalk powder and fine chips as an adulterant. Poison­ous substances like saccharine or cyclamate dulsine are added to foods to sweeten them. Fine sand or semolina is mixed with fine granules of sugar.

• Jiggery. Jiggery often has grit and mud present in it. By making solution with water, grit and mud will settle down. Sometimes prohibited colours are used to make it more bright.

• Honey. Often sugar syrup is added to adulterate honey. Pure sugar as an adulterant causes no harm to health but the consumer is cheated of his money.