Adulterant: a Chemical Substance

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  • Topic: Adulterant, Melamine, Chicory
  • Pages : 14 (4544 words )
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  • Published : December 29, 2012
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1) Introduction
An adulterant is a chemical substance which should not be contained within other substances, such as food, beverages, fuels, for legal or other reasons. The addition of adulterants is called adulteration. The word is appropriate only when the additions are unwanted by the recipient. Otherwise the expression would be food additive. Adulterants when used in illicit drugs are called cutting agents, while deliberate addition of toxic adulterants to food or other products for human consumption is known as poisoning. The addition of adulterant may be intentional or accidental. But generally the adulterant addition is intentional. The major reason for the intentional addition of these adulterants is for increasing the profit margin on the expense of the health of the public or consumer.

These days rarely any food item is spared from the malicious practice of food adulteration. Almost every food-item from milk to fruits, from vegetables to grains is added with adulterants. Some adulterants enter via agricultural steps, as they are not cleaned well. These are visible adulterants like stones, leaves, soil, sand and dust to name a few. The consumer can clean them and this makes it less harmful. Other adulterants that are intentionally added are invisible or they are made invisible by astutely camouflaging with the color or texture. They are generally harmful for the health and most of them lead to serious health problems like cancer.

Adulterant reduces the quality of the food and this weakens the health of the one who consumes them, thereby increasing the cost for healthcare. Regular intake of an adulterated food can lead to many health problems. From curable to incurable disorders and diseases can ruin ones lifestyle and life as well.

Common adulterants are lower grade harmful substances like the use Argemone oil mixed in mustard oil. Other leaves and saw dusts are adulterant when they are mixed with the original tealeaves. Many toxic chemicals are also used to color sweets. Methanol is an adulterant for alcohol. In the name of original ghee, it is adulterated with vanaspati. Honey is adulterated with other sugar. Pulses are adulterated by coloring them so they may look fresh. Similar toxic coloring approaches are used for vegetables and fruits to look as fresh as they can, in order to increase their sale. One of basic food, milk is commonly adulterated with water.

The common use of toxic coloring agents as an adulterant for fruits, vegetables, sweets are very dangerous when it comes to health of a person. It can lead to serious health issues like cancer, cardiac problems, insomnia and paralysis and other neurological problems or death as well. When it comes to honey adulteration it seems safer than the adulteration with the toxic chemicals. As this will only have an economic impact without any health issues. Even milk can be completely adulterated without any sign for milk in it, by making it artificially with chemicals.

With all this understanding and information known to everyone in the authorities who can help in reducing the problem, are nowhere in the picture to solve it. The strong regulations are there in the code of conduct. The question is why is it not implemented? Is it due to the strong clutches of industrialization and increasing demands by an increasing population? Is it to increase the demand for health care? Is it the thinking that we are made of these chemical and soils? What ever remains the question and whatever the answer is, understood is the fact is that it's a social crime and many are in need of good health. Food adulteration increases the burden of health in the society. Lets understand that a wise saying, which goes that "a healthy mind resides in a healthy body". Food is the basic necessity of life. One works hard and earns to satisfy our hunger and relax (enjoy) latter. But at the end of the day, many of us are not sure of what we eat. We may be eating a...
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