Are you getting attracted by the delectable and the luscious color of the sweets displayed at the sweet shop? or the taste of that spicy deep yellow colored pakoda? And have you ever wondered why whenever you make it at home, you never get that same yellow color? Food is the basic necessity of life. One works hard and earns to satisfy our hunger and relax (enjoy) later. But at the end of the day, many of us are not sure of what we eat. We may be eating a dangerous dye, sawdust, soapstone, industrial starch, and aluminum foil and so on!
Contaminated foods and drinks are common sources of infection. Often, we invite diseases rather than good health. Food is adulterated if its quality is lowered or affected by the addition of substances which are injurious to health or by the removal of substances which are nutritious. It is defined as the act of intentionally debasing the quality of food offered for sale either by the admixture or substitution of inferior substances or by the removal of some valuable ingredient.
Food is declared adulterated if: •A substance is added which depreciates or injuriously affects it. •Cheaper or inferior substances are substituted wholly or in part. •Any valuable or necessary constituent has been wholly or in part abstracted. •It is an imitation. •It is colored or otherwise treated, to improve its appearance or if it contains any added substance injurious to health. •For whatever reasons its quality is below the Standard
Adulterated food is dangerous because it may be toxic and can affect health and it could deprive nutrients essential for proper growth and development. Very often food is adulterated by merchants and traders who are unscrupulous and want to make a quick profit. But shortages and increasing prices,consumer demands for variety in foods, a lack of awareness, negligence,indifference and lethargy among consumers and inadequate enforcement of food laws and food safety measures also lead to food adulteration.
Some of the common adulterated foods are milk and milk products, atta, edible oils, cereals, condiments (whole and ground), pulses, coffee, tea, confectionary, baking powder, nonalcoholic beverages, vinegar, besan and curry powde II The bitter truth is the food items we consume are adulterated in some way or the other. Recently, during the festive season in India, it was observed that the ingredients to make sweets, such as milk, sugar, khoya, ghee, maida, etc are found to be adulterated.
As per the law, no person shall manufacture, sell, stock, distribute or exhibit for sale any article of food, including ready-to-serve food, irradiated food except under a licence issued by the State Commissioner. Manufacture for sale, or sale of adulterated food article is an offence. A complaint can be made to the Food Inspector. The health inspectors in municipalities and municipal corporations are notified as Food Inspectors for purpose of checking adulteration of food and prosecuting the offenders. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not doing enough to control the adulteration.
A complaint can also be made to the Consumer court for compensation for the damage caused on consumption of adulterated food item. The Prevention Food adulteration Act, 1954 stands repealed from the date “The Food Safety and Standards (FS &S) Act 2005” passed by parliament comes into force. If the food article is unsafe, substandard, or misbranded you can complain to the Food Safety Officer of the local area. Under the new Act, the Adjudicating Officer or the court trying the offence also can award compensation to the victim.
The Indian government has not done enough to control the adulteration of food products. There is law existing in the country to prosecute the guilty, but the people are not aware of the laws. The common man does not know whom to complain and how they work! The first thing the government should do is to increase the awareness amongst the public regarding the food adulteration, the local authority to whom the complain should be addressed and also provide proper guidelines to the manufacturers.