Image Source: Purity Test
Aug 4, 2018
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) have in open panel issued a caution message that guides consumers on how to avoid buying adulterated food products and spices in particular.
Safe Ground Spices – as the notice is named, tells consumers how to ensure that spices are not adulterated and contains key points which must be kept in mind while buying spices.
The key points include avoid buying spices in powdered form which are do not carry any brand name. These unbranded varieties are banned by FSSAI on account of high rate of adulteration. The food regulator has urged the consumer to look for AGMARK logo and FSSAI certification and license number on the package’s label, etc.
Powdered spices are most commonly adulterated with substances like artificial colors, starch, chalk powder, stalks, husks etc., in order to increase their weight and enhance their appearance. The consumption of such adulterated spices often result in stomach upset, skin allergies, liver enlargement and other disorders, acidity, colitis, heart burn , food poisoning etc… These illnesses lead to severe and chronic conditions deteriorating health further.
The notice instructs the consumers to purchase whole spices instead of powdered ones. There are lesser chances of spices to get adultered if purchased whole. Grinding of these whole spices can be carried out at home too or can be packed-purchase from good grocery stores. The notice further states to look for the FSSAI’s organic logo – Jaivik Bharat – on the pack of organic spices.
“It is important to control adulteration in spices, but the bulk of the spices are sold in the open as non-packaged products, and it is elitism to insist that all consumers should buy only packaged spices,” said a spokesperson. “When the corporate sector makes a policy for regulators, such oversight is natural. That is why such policies will not help in removing adulteration. These rules are basically built to push consumers towards the expensive option, i.e. packaged products,” he added.
“This does not only have an adverse effect on prices but also on trade and jobs, especially small and medium enterprises that dominate spice trade. It is important that policies are made taking into account how the Indian market functions and how the spice trade is conducted, instead of letting it be dictated by a lobby,” the official said.
“This note is definitely going to help the consumer to get good-quality spices without any adulteration. The only worries will be for those who are not literate. So in my opinion, it should be prepared using colloquialisms in every language,” reported Usha Sisodia, dietitian, Nanavati Super Specialty Hospital.
“The apex regulator should also consider preparing a brief advertising note for television, using social networking sites such as Facebook, and arranging common education programmes at various public places,” Usha added. “Adulteration of spices cannot be easily stopped. It can directly affect the business of many people. So the government should impose hefty fines on those who prove to be culprits.”