What are the effects of some of the adulterants present in the food?

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Kesari dal is often mixed with other pulses. Whole pulses like black masoor, black Bengal gram are adulterated with whole Kesari pulse.

Split pulses such as arhar and chana dal are adulterated with split kesari dal. Besan is often sold with an adulteration of kesari dal powder. Yield of kesari dal is more even in adverse conditions. That’s why it is cheap.

Health hazards:

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Excessive consumption of kesari dal pro­duces Lathyrism (form of crippling, paralysis of both lower limbs) mainly in boys and men in the age group of 5 to 45 years. This disease manifests itself in 2-4 months if the diet con­sists of 40% or more of kesari dal.

• The disease starts with the stiffness of knee joints and legs, with pain around the knee and ankle joints.

• Within 10-30 days of the onset of symp­toms, paralysis of the lower limbs sets in.

• The patient gradually becomes crippled as his knees are bent and stiff.

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2. Argemone seeds.

Argemone seeds are obtained from Argemone Mexican-the yellow flowered poppy plant. Its seeds resem­ble mustard seeds in appearance. These seeds are mixed with mustard seeds during extrac­tion of mustard oil.

Health hazards:

Argemone oil is very toxic and may cause eye disease leading to blindness. Regular consumption of it may also cause disease called epidemic dropsy, resembling wet beriberi.

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• In this disease watery fluid is collected in the tissues of the body causing swelling (edema).

• It starts with gastro-intestinal disturban­ces, irregular fever with rashes on exposed parts of the body.

• In this disease liver is enlarged.

• Eyesight is lost because of glaucoma.

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• It may be even fatal for the person.

3. Methanol yellow

Methanol yellow is a prohibited substance for the human consumption. It is used in abundance, apart from other mineral colours in food products. It is frequently used in coloring pulses, spices and condiments, sweets like alibi, lido, Karachi hallway, etc. and bottled soft drinks.

Health hazards:

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Methanol yellow can cause:

• Cancer.

• Abnormalities in skin, eyes, lungs, and bones.

• Degeneration of reproductive organs-

ovaries, testes.

• Its excessive use leads to sterility.

• Abnormalities in foetus.

• Mental retardation.

• Anemia.

• Accumulation of lead in body and blood.

4. Mineral oils

Mineral oils like kerosene oil are being cheap added to edible oils. Fat soluble vitamins A and D are destroyed by even a little consumption of these oils. Excessive use of mineral oils may lead to vomiting and intestinal haemorrhages.

A coating of mineral oil is used on some food products to prevent fungus growth. Min­eral oils are highly toxic and adversely affect health. Certain oils may cause cancer.

Simple tests for the detection of food adulteration

Undoubtedly, it is the consumer who suffers monetarily and health wise because of food adulteration. But detection of adulteration in food is very difficult for them. Adulteration in some foods can be detected by simple tests.

Precautions against food adulteration

It is very difficult to take precautions against adulteration and avoid it. Hence, vigi­lance against it is very important. Harmful effects of adulteration can be avoided by sufficient precautions and being c For this, following precautions are

1. One should be aware of the rates lent in different markets.

2. Buy commodities from the familiar shops and cooperative stores.

3. Buy reliable brands of food with dard marks like ISI, Agar, FPO, These standard marks are a guaranty’ good quality in themselves.

4. As far as possible, buy food item packed and sealed form. Never spices, condiments and edible oils in form. Chances of adulteration damaging the seals in packed foods by shopkeepers are reduced considerably

5. Packed foods and medicines, only proper labels should be purcha These labels must contain all information regarding quantity, we: contents, date of manufacture, etc. sot the consumer must be sure of quality is purchasing.

6. Natural colours should be used to e hence the food item’s appearance. Nevi buy rice, pulses, sweets, spices an condiments etc. having artificial colon

7. As for as possible buy whole grain and spices. One can always grind them at ho

8. Manufacturers often resort to advancement to increase the sales. Cons should not be impressed by such measures.

Duties of a citizen

It is necessary for every citizen to be aware of his duty in detecting adulteration and assist the government and the law in curbing it

1. It is the duty of every citizen to check the menace of adulteration and work active! in exposing and condemning it.

2. Be prompt in giving information about specific instances of adulteration. Convey it by post or by telephone to the concerned authorities. If you live in Delhi they are:

• Municipal Health Officer, Municipal Corporation, Town Hall, Delhi. .

• Executive Officer, Delhi Cantonment Board, Delhi Cant.

• Director General Health Services, Norman Bhawan, New Delhi-110001.

• Citizen Central Council, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

• Prevention of Food Adulteration Depart­ment, Fifth Floor, ISBT, Delhi 110006.

3. Give lawful assistance to food inspectors in drawing of adulterated food samples.

4. Be ready to act as a witness and to give evidence in court in such cases.

5. Offer full cooperation and help in campaign against food adulteration.

6. Consumer should be careful about weights and measures at the time of purchase. Complaints regarding under-weighing should be addressed to weights and measure department.

If any food article is suspected to be adulterated, the following actions are recommended under the Provisions of the PFA Act:

Action taken on the complaints

A team of Food Inspectors under the supervision of SDMs collect the samples of food articles and the samples are sent for analysis to the Public Analyst, who is to deliver the report within 40 days.

Action taken if sample is found adulterated

The persons responsible for adulteration are identified by the investigating Food Inspectors and the legal experts and the Director (PFA) launch prosecution after examining the matter.

Penalty given to the adulterators

Minimum 6 months imprisonment with the fine of ? 1,000/- which may be extended up to life imprisonment with the fine, depending on the gravity of the offence.

If any person wants to get a sample analysed

Take sufficient quantity of the sample and contact to the Public Analyst at the Department of Prevention of Food Adulteration, A/20, Lawrence Road Industrial Area, and Delhi-35 with the prescribed analysis fee.

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