75% of Diwali sweets, food samples found adulterated
DEHRADUN: Before you gulp down that mouth-watering gulab jamun this Diwali, read this. A survey by Dehradun-based Society of Pollution and Environmental Conservation Scientists (SPECS) has found that many sweet shops in the city are selling adulterated food items.
Adulteration in food items usually shoots up during the festive season when people make a beeline for these products. In its survey, SPECS collected samples from sweet shops at Hanuman Chowk, Saharanpur Chowk, Patel Nagar, Majra, Clement Town, Karanpur, Dharampur, Krishan Nagar, Jakhan etc for a three-day period starting from October 24.
Of the 218 samples collected, 163 had some level of adulteration.
Talking to TOI, Brij Sharma, secretary SPECS said, "Of the 218 samples we tested, 163 samples were found adulterated. All samples of mustard oil and roli (vermilion) were found to be adulterated."
Around 70% of the samples of paneer, gulab jamun & milk cake were adulterated with soyabean flour and starch. Samples of mustard oil were found adulterated with metanil yellow (non-permitted food colour) and lead chromate (a compound that emits toxic chromium fumes upon heating).
Samples of raj bhog, pethas and laddoos were also found adulterated with metanil yellow. Samples of turmeric and chilly powder were found mixed with lead chromate and Sudan dye respectively. Coriander powder was found mixed with dust.
Half of the bakery products were found adulterated with substandard flour and low grade fat.
"Urea, detergent, refined oil, dry milk and starch was found in milk samples. In two samples, formalin (a preservative) was also found. Drinking such adulterated milk can lead to stomach disorder, liver-kidney problems, nutrient deficiency, skin diseases and hair loss," Sharma.
He added that mustard oil can be replaced with sesame oil while roli can be replaced with turmeric.