Police officials who recently busted food adulteration rings say the gangs are from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where food adulteration is rampant. They are adulterating not just milk or cooking oil but costly spices too say officials of National Institute of Nutrition.
According to Dr V Sudarshan Rao, a scientist from the Food Safety Division of NIN “many times, papaya seeds are grounded and mixed with synthetic gum to make it seem like black-pepper. This happens as pepper is costly and mixing them with papaya seeds makes it cheaper for miscreants.”
After black pepper, the next most adulterated food item is fennel, which is mixed with sodium hydrosulphite. “This is then blended with sawdust and brick dust and sold in the market as masala powder,” said an official from Nutrition Society of India.
It is a welcome move that cops have finally launched a sustained crackdown against the adulteration of spices and other food items but efforts should be made that these traders don’t get back to their old ways.