Adulteration & Contamination - Introduction

Food Adulteration - CHAPTER - 1 #


“Deliberately or unwittingly (may be by natural source or other means) deleting of something valuable and mixing of something inferior/ impure/ Poisonous/ Pesticide residue/ Food additive/Color additive/ deleterious or unknown hazardous substances (that is fail to fulfill the federal or state standard of specify product) with something genuine or superior one.”

      Pure Product+ Adulterant = Adulterated Product 

Any added substances that makes genuine product to deviate from their specify standard is called adulterant. That can be deliberately added or incidentally during the period of culturing, harvesting, processing, transport, storage and distribution.


A Pure product is a sample of matter with both define and constant composition, with distinct properties.


Food is adulterated to increase the quantity and make more profit. The food is sucked of its nutrients and the place where the food is grown is often contaminated. Food adulteration takes into account not onlthe intentional addition or substitution oabstraction osubstances which adversely affect the nature, substances and quality of  foods, but also their incidental contamination during the period of  growth, harvesting, storage, processing, transport and distribution.

A food adulterant may be defined as any material which is added to food or any substance which adversely affects the nature, substance and quality othe food.

Any article ofood shall be considered as adulterated:

  • If the article sold by a vendor is not of the nature, substance oquality demanded by the purchaser or if not of the nature, substance or quality which it ought to be. Thus for e.g. , if a sweet vendor leads his customer to believe that his sweets are prepared in pure desi ghee and actually he uses a mixture of hydrogenated vegetable oils and ghee his sweets will be considered to be adulterated.
  • If he article contains or processing has produced in it injurious ingredients, for instance during the process of hydrogenating oil to prepare vanaspati, nickel is used as a catalyst. If not properly removed, this metal can prove to be hazard.
  • If any inferior or cheap substance has been substituted holly or in par for the article e.g. starch powder has been mixed in milk powder.
  • If any constituent of the article has been wholly or in part abstracted e.g. natural flavours or essential oils have been removed from spices before selling them.
  • If the article has been prepared packed or kept under unsanitary conditions or it has become contaminated or injurious to health.
  • If the article has any filth, putrid rotten, decompose or diseased animal or vegetable substances or is insect infected or is otherwise unfit for human consumption;
  • If the article is obtained from a diseased animal;If the article contains any poisonouor other ingredient which render it injurious to health;
  • If the container of the articles composed of poisonous or deleterious substance which render its content injurious to health. For example, harmful chemicals can leach into the food kept in the container made from poor quality plastics.
  • If it contains un-permitted colours or if he amount of the prescribed colouring matter are not within the prescribe limits. For instance, only 100 ppm of colour can be added tice cream and the colour is to be chosen from a list of eight approved bthe PFA.
  • Ithe article contains any prohibited preservatives oan excessive amount  opermitted ones.
  • If it does not satisfy the prescribed standards laid down by the authorities and which makes the article injurious o health. For e.g. an article of food should not have more than the permitted level of pesticidesIf it does, the sugar is adulterated but such an adulteration is not injurious to health.
  • If it does not satisfy the prescribed standardlaid down bthe authorities‘but the article does not become injurious to health. For e.g. sugar should not have morthan 0.5 % by weight of moisture. If it does, the sugar is adulteratiobut such an adulteration is not injurious to health.

  • Spices and Condiments (whole and ground)- Turmeric powder, Turmeric whole, Asafetida, Mustard whole, red chilli powder, and coriander powder.
  • Pulses & Cereals, wheat, rice, and their products like wheat flour, Multi flours, broken wheat, gram flour and semolina.
  • Oils and fats- Desi ghee, Vegetable oils, sunflower oil, mustard oil.
  • Sweetening agent like sugar and honey.
  • Processed food- confectionary, jams, sauces, ice creams and prepared foods items like sweets, Snacks, chips and Noodles.
  • Milk and milk products.
  • Coffee and tea.
  • Non- alcoholic beverageCSD, soft drinks, juices, sherbets.

Food Contamination - Chapter- 2 # 

Mixing, Changing or Growing of any particulates in genuine product (Pure product) with
respect to their standard (That may be harmful, cause illness or not, May be deliberately
added or by incident, May be formation of other constituents due to reaction of within
product constituent or product- packing materials, May be due to growing of biological
factor or environmental factor) is called contamination and the factor by which
contamination is caused is called contaminants and the product which one is effected is
called contaminated.

Type of contamination on the Basis of Nature:

There are three types of contaminants on the basis of their Nature.

  •      Physical Contamination
  •      Chemical Contamination
  •      Biological Contamination
Those unwanted materials that we can observe and separated manually.
E.g. Stone, mud balls, hair, plastic and glass pieces, Excreta, any foreign matters and parts of
other eatable matters.  

The presence of hazardous chemical in materials more than the standard/Regulatory limits
is called Chemical contamination that may be caused…
During culturing - Pesticide, Dioxins & PCBs, Trace metals and fertilizers residue.
During the processing of Materials there is excessive use of chemical for treatment, Food
additive, Food preservative and extractive purpose.
Leaching of packing materials and during transport or cross contamination.
Mycotoxins, Uric acid or other toxins witch one secreted by insect is also considered as
chemical contamination.


Materials are infected by live hood or have their parts after infection is called Biological
contamination. Biological contamination is further divided in two ways..


In this section we are considered insects, insect larva or parts of any visible living materials

is called microbiological contamination.


In this section we are considered infection of micro- organism in materials (that we can’t see

by naked eye). E.g. salmonella, E.Coli etc.

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