Tips to check quality of some common foods

Some simple tests to check oil, honey, sugar and other items for adulteration

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Tuesday 02 May 2017 | 06:01:34 AM

Credit: Thinkstock

A simple Google search can show you multiple news items reporting adulteration in commonly consumed foods like milk, spices, sugar and others. Long supply chains make it impossible to track where your food comes from, but some easy-to-perform quality tests can reveal the presence of some frequent adulterants.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has released a booklet of such simple home tests which to check the quality of daily use food products.

Earlier, Down To Earth published a list of tests for milk, a food item often found to be substandard. In the second article in the series, learn to test oil, sugar and honey.

Detecting sugar solution in honey

  • Take water in a transparent/see-through glass
  • Add some honey
  • If honey disperses in water, it indicates the presence of added sugar.
  • Pure honey will not dissolve instantaneously

Credit: FSSAI

Detecting chalk powder in sugar

  • Talk water in a transparent/see-through glass
  • Dissolve around 10 grams of the sugar sample in it
  • If chalk adulterant is present, it will settle down at the bottom

Credit: FSSAI

Detecting other oils as adulterants in coconut oil

  • Take the sample in a transparent glass
  • Place the glass in the refrigerator for 30 minutes
  • Coconut oil solidifies
  • If the sample if adulterated, other oils remain as a separate layer

Credit: FSSAI

Tests are sourced from FSSAI's booklet "DART". 

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IEP Resources:

Potassium Bromate or Potassium Iodate in Bread

Question raised in Rajya Sabha on Adulterated Milk Products, 01/03/2016

Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Amendment Regulations, 2014

Caffeine content in energy drinks

Antibiotic residues in honey

FSSAI advisory on standards for honey and prohibition of antibiotics

The Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955

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