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Food Adulterants in India and their Health Hazards

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Presentation on theme: "Food Adulterants in India and their Health Hazards"— Presentation transcript:

1 Food Adulterants in India and their Health Hazards
Surjit Singh

2 Food is one of the essentials to sustain life
Food is one of the essentials to sustain life. Access to pure, nutritious food, free from any type of adulteration is the genuine expectation of every citizen. One works hard and earns to satisfy the hunger. But at the end of the day, many of us are not sure of quality of food we are eating. We may be eating a dangerous dye, sawdust, soap stone, industrial starch aluminum foil and so on! 

3 Though food laws that exist are comparable to international ones, there is very little activity at the ground level to monitor or detect adulterated foods

4 The food industry has grown tremendously in the past two decades, but food regulation has hardly kept pace. The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act has been replaced with a broad-based food safety law and a body called the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. But the change has made no difference at the ground level. Instead of tackling adulteration and the issue of food safety, the authority appears preoccupied with issues connected with the packaged food industry.

5 Food adulteration in India seems to be getting deadlier by the day
Food adulteration in India seems to be getting deadlier by the day. First we had some unscrupulous dairy farmers in western Uttar Pradesh inventing synthetic milk. Then we had reports of fruits, particularly mangoes, being ripened with calcium carbide and now, there are reports of fish being made to appear fresh with formalin.

6 In 2012, a study in India conducted by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) across 33 states found that milk in India is adulterated with detergent, fat and even urea, as well diluted with water. Of the1791 random samples from 33 states, just 31.5% of the samples tested (565) conformed to the FSSAI standards while the rest 1226 (68.4%) failed the test. Ref: V. Lakshmi et al., IJSIT (, Volume 1, Issue 2, November-December 2012

7 Food Article Adulterant Harmful Effects Bengal Gram dal Thoor Dal Kesari dal Lathyrism, cancer Tea Used tea leaves processed and coloured Liver Disorder Coffee Powder Tamarind seed, date seed powder Diarrhoea Chicory powder Stomach disorder, Giddiness and joint pain Fish formaldehyde carcingenic

8 Unhygenic water & Starch Stomach disorder
Milk Unhygenic water & Starch Stomach disorder Khoa Starch & Less Fat content Less - nutritive value Wheat and other food grains (Bajra) Ergot (a fungus containing poisonous substance) Poisonous Sand, marble chips, stones, filth Damage to digestive tract Sugar Chalk powder Stomach - Disorder Black pepper Papaya Seeds and light berrys Stomach, liver problems

9 Epidemic dropsy, Loss of eyesight, heart diseases, tumour
Mustard powder Argemone seeds epidemic dropsy Edible oils Argemone oil Epidemic dropsy, Loss of eyesight, heart diseases, tumour Mineral oil Damage to liver,carcinogenic effects Karanja oil Heart problems, liver damage Castor oil Stomach problem TCP Paralysis Rancid oil Destroys vitamin A and E

10 Foreign resins galbanum, colophony resin dysentery
Asafoetida Foreign resins galbanum, colophony resin dysentery Turmeric powder Yellow aniline dyes Carcinogenic Non-permitted colourants like metanil yellow Highly Carcinogenic Tapioca starch Stomach disorder Chilli powder Brick powder, saw dust Stomach problems Artificial Colors Cancer Fruit juices, soft drinks, etc. in contact with cadmium plated vessels or equipment. Cadmium contaminated water and shell-fish Cadmium ‘Itai-itai (ouch-ouch) disease,  Increased salivation, acute gastritis, liver and kidney damage, prostrate cancer Water, Liquors Cobalt Cardiac insufficiency and mycocardial failure

11 Non-permitted coaltar dye, Metanil Yellow carcinogenic
Sweets, Juices, Jam Non-permitted coaltar dye, Metanil Yellow carcinogenic Jaggery Washing soda, chalkpowder vomiting, diarrhoea Lead  chromate Turmeric whole and powdered, mixed spices Anemia, abortion, paralysis, brain damage Alcoholic liquors Methanol, Blurred vision, blindness, death Fruits such as apples sprayed over with lead arsenate Arsenic Dizziness, chills, cramps, paralysis, death Foods contaminated by rat poisons (Barium  carbonate) Barium Violent peristalisis, arterial hypertension, muscular twitching, convulsions, cardiac disturbances

12 Bacterial contamination Bacillus cereus
Bacterial contamination Bacillus cereus Cereal products, custards, puddings, sauces Salmonella spp. Meat and meat products, raw vegetables, salads, shell-fish, eggs and egg products, warmed-up leftovers Shigella sonnei Milk, potato, beans, poultry, tuna, shrimp, moist mixed foods Staphylococcus aureus Entero-toxins-A,B,C,D or E Dairy products, baked foods especially custard or cream-filled foods, meat and meat products, low-acid frozen foods, salads, cream sauces, etc. Clostridium botulinus toxins A,B,E or F Defectively canned low or medium-acid foods; meats, sausages, smoked vacuum-packed fish, fermented food etc. Clostridium.perfringens type A Milk improperly processed or canned meats, fish and gravy stocks

13 Virus Hepatitis (virus A) Parasites Ascaris lumbricoides Any  raw food or water contaminated by human faces containing eggs of the parasite Ascariasis Entamoeba histolytica Viral Raw vegetables and fruits Amoebic dysentery

14 Milk Adulteration



17 Possible diseases due to Adulteration in Milk - Agriculture For Nutrition and Health presentation

18 Kesari Dal Whole Kesari dal is often mixed in whole pulses like black masoor, black Bengal gram and 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. Health hazards: 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 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.

19 Argemone seeds/Oil 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. Regular consumption of it may cause disease called epidemic dropsy, resembling wet beriberiin which is marked by edema. It usually starts with gastro-intestinal disturbance, irregular fever with rashes on exposed parts of the body. Liver is enlarged and if not stopped in time may prove fatal Eyesight is lost because of glaucoma.


21 Mustard oil (Brassica nigra) which is derived from mustard seeds is commonly used as a cooking medium inmany parts of India. While harvesting, the mustard seeds become contaminated with the wild seeds of Argemone mexicana (Mexican prickly poppy) that commonly grows alongside mustard plantations. The main alkaloid of Argemone oil is toxic, and belongs to the class of benzophenanthridine group, namely sanguinarine anddihydro-sanguinarine. Its ingestion causes a progressive leg edema, also known as epidemic dropsy. The first record of epidemic dropsy was in Calcutta in1877. Since then, numerous outbreaks have been recognized and reported all over India.

22 Edema (%) Leg 100 General 20 26 - 27 Erythema(%) 35 80 82 Tenderness 22 70 75 88 CHF (%) 2 6 14 29 Diarrhoea (%) 73 36 51 54 Anemia (%) 46 Pancytopenia (%) Tandon et al.; 1975 (45) Gomber et al.; 1992 (Delhi, n= 30) Singh NP et al.; 1998 (Delhi, n=212) Singh R et al.; 1999 (Nepal, n=26) Current study; 2004- 2011 (Punjab and Haryana, n=11)

23 Autopsy and microscopic examination of one patient revealed that all the cardiac chambers were dilated without any mural thrombi and the myocardial fibrils were in disarray with interstitial edema Cardiac myocytes displayed anisonucleosis, and there was patchy perivascular and interstitial fibrosis. Gross examination of the liver, lungs and spleen showed congestion. On microscopic evaluation, alveolar edema was observed in the lungs, in addition to a focal steatosis and extramedullary hemopoiesis in the liver and features of acute tubular necrosis in the kidneys.



26 Withdrawal of the offending agent - the contaminated mustard oil is the cornerstone of management, A direct correlation between the amount of Argemone oil consumed and the severity of symptoms may account for the varying severity. Symptomatic treatment is provided which includes bed rest, oxygen supplementation, diuretics and fluid restriction. In addition, oral folic acid supplements for patients with hemolytic anemia.

27 Metanil Yellow 3-(4-Anilinophenylazo)benzenesulfonic acid sodium salt
Metanil yellow is a prohibited substance for the human consumption. Apart from other mineral colours, it is frequently used in coloring pulses, spices and condiments, sweets like Jalebi, ladddoo, Karachi halwa and bottled soft drinks. Health hazards: Cancer. Abnormalities in skin, eyes, lungs, and bones. Degeneration of reproductive organs-ovaries, testes leading to sterility. Abnormalities in foetus. Mental retardation. Anemia. Accumulation of lead in body and blood.

28 Food Chem Toxicol. 1993 Jan;31(1):41-4.
Effects of chronic consumption of metanil yellow by developing and adult rats on brain regional levels of noradrenaline, dopamine and serotonin, on acetylcholine esterase activity and on operant conditioning. Nagaraja TN1, Desiraju T. Abstract Metanil yellow is the principal non-permitted food colour used extensively in India. The effects of long-term consumption of metanil yellow on the developing and adult brain were studied using Wistar rats. Regional levels of noradrenaline, dopamine and serotonin, activity of acetylcholine esterase (AChE), and operant conditioning with food reward were assessed in rats fed, metanil yellow and in controls. In the treated rats the amine levels in the hypothalamus, striatum and brain stem were significantly affected, and the changes were not generally reversible even after withdrawal of metanil yellow in developing rats. The striatum showed an early reduction of AChE activity, whereas the hippocampus showed a delayed but persistent effect of reduced AChE activity. Treated rats also took more sessions to learn the operant conditioning behaviour. These effects on these major neurotransmitter systems and on learning, indicate that chronic consumption of metanil yellow can predispose both the developing and the adult central nervous system (CNS) of the rat to neurotoxicity

29 Mineral oils Mineral oils like kerosene oil are being added to edible oils and fat soluble vitamins A and D are destroyed by even a little consumption of these oils. Excessive may lead to vomiting and intestinal haemorrhages. A coating of mineral oil is used on some food products to prevent fungus growth Certain oils may cause cancer.

30 Thanks for being with me

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