Food Adulteration

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Food adulteration is 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 coloured or otherwise treated, to improve its appearance or if it contains any added substance injurious to health. Food-preservatives have a very extensive use, which often constitutes adulteration. Salt is the classic preservative, but is seldom classified as an adulterant. Salicylic, benzoic, and boric acids, and their sodium salts, formaldehyde, ammonium fluoride, sulphurous acid and its salts are among the principal preservatives. Many of these appear to be innocuous, but there is danger that the continued use of food preserved by these agents may be injurious. Some preservatives have been conclusively shown to be injurious when used for long periods.

Coal-tar colours are employed a great deal, pickles and canned vegetables are sometimes coloured green with copper salts; butter is made more yellow by anatta; turmeric is used in mustard and some cereal preparations. Apples are the basis for many jellies, which are coloured so as to simulate finer ones. In confectionery, dangerous colours, such as chrome yellow, prussian blue, copper and arsenic compounds are employed. Yellow and orange-coloured sweets are to be suspected. Artificial flavouring compounds are employed in the concoction of fruit syrups, especially those used for soda water. Milk is adulterated with water, and indirectly by removing the cream. The addition of water may introduce disease germs. Cream is adulterated with gelatin, and formaldehyde is employed as a preservative for it. Butter is adulterated

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