Dr Saurabh Arora*
The festive season comes along with a wide array of sweets and its mélange of flavours which brings delight and sweeten up the festive vibes but what if this joy is wrapped with apprehension of adulteration with harmful additives which can gradually deteriorate the health of consumers.
It is a fact that we often hear about surprise inspections of sweet manufacturers and sellers where adulterated and contaminated milk products are detected. This in turn creates distrust among consumers towards sweets sellers and manufacturers. Indeed, it smears the authenticity and reputation of any food business.
The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that “if milk adulteration is not halted in India, a major portion of the population might face life-threatening diseases by the year 2025”.
The need of the hour is to curb the adulteration especially during the festive season as the consumption of sweets and milk products escalates during this time.
A Glance at Initiative of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
Recently, FSSAI has issued several guidelines to gear up the vigilance on adulteration amid festive season. The apex authority of food has requested the Commissioners of Food Safety of all States/UTs, Central Licensing Authorities and all Regional Directors of the FSSAI to ensure that a strict vigil is maintained in their respective jurisdictions to avoid any laxity on the manufacture and sale of sweets, milk and milk products.
The FSSAI has exhorted them to conduct periodic surveillance / enforcement drives. Moreover, it has also been suggested to install Food Safety on Wheels (FSW) in prominent markets. The mobile laboratory will be fully equipped for quality testing to detect adulteration of food products in a jiffy. The idea is to ensure that such products are safe to consume thereby gaining trust of consumers across the country.
It is indispensable to check the milk and milk products before the preparation of milk based items. This is why proper lab testing of milk and its end products is vital to assure that it is free from any harmful ingredient.
Reasons for Adulteration
Several factors like dismal socio-economic status, low purchasing power of consumers, demand and supply gap, perishable nature of milk, unorganized plight of dairy industries, laxity of laws, lack of awareness regarding analytical laboratories to get the milk tested and lack of consumer vigilance worsens the menace of milk adulteration. Despite all the measures taken by the government to curb the fraudulent activities to adulterate milk in an illicit way, the adulteration of milk has been a major issue.
Spur in demand
Apparently, during the festive season, the demand for milk and it’s by-products such as khoya and ghee dramatically goes up which leads to increase in adulteration due to shortage of milk.
Despite the stringent laws under the Consumer Protection Act that imposes heavy fines on factories and shops where adulterated food items are found the malicious act of adulteration still goes on.
Ingredients such as khoya, varak, ghee, oil, milk, artificial flavours, and colours are blatantly used for making sweets as all these items can easily be adulterated for monetary gains. Milk is usually adulterated with water chalk, urea, soap and chemical whiteners.Khoya is adulterated with paper and starch. Instead of pure silver vark aluminum foil is used to embellish sweets. Ghee is mixed with vanaspati or animal fat. Unfortunately, prolonged consumption of such adulterants is harmful for health.
Impact of Adulterants on Health
High saturated fats raise the level of cholesterol in human blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Moreover, high levels of aluminum lead to brain and bone diseases. Besides, food colors create severe allergies. This is why it is important that consumers should always buy sweets from FSSAI registered or licensed manufacturers.
Our state of the art laboratories in pan India locations provide a wide array of food products testing services and ensures that the food product doesn’t contain any physical, chemical and biological hazards or contaminants, such as metals, additives, pesticides, preservatives, cleaning agents, salmonella, e-coli bacteria, etc. We provide a comprehensive analysis of adulteration or additives in your product.
We make use of different techniques like HPLC for food analysis, HPTLC for investigation of food, GCMC, LCMSMS, and chemical analysis.
We have been routinely carrying out this analysis for leading packaged food, FMCG, and retail organizations in India for compliance with the FSS Act/Rules & Regulations.
We are prominently an EIC approved /NABL accredited milk testing lab with nearly two decades of experience in the pharma sector.
Our labs are well-equipped for all the dairy products testing. Besides, we serve various methods of milk testing like chemical analysis, tracing of harmful elements, pesticide elements, vitamins testing and microbiology analysis.
We also provide information regarding the structure, composition, and physicochemical characteristics of the food. Some of the reasons why food testing is performed are as follows.
- To verify the manufacturer claims on the product components, safety, etc.
- For quality control purposes before, after and during the manufacturing process
- To ensure adherence to the laws and standards of food inspection and grading as per the FSSAI food license terms
- To enhance the quality, nutritional value and affordability of food products
*A prolific inventor, pharmacist, scientist, technophile, and visionary entrepreneur. He has been leading the contract, testing, certification, and research business at Arbro and Auriga since 2005 with labs in seven locations. Invented, patented, and commercialized SNEC 30, a scientifically advanced curcumin supplement; Founder of Food Safety Helpline; Founder and Mentor of Lab-Training.com