Let adulteration not mar your festivities

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Last Updated : 31 October 2012, 16:14 IST

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With the festive season here, Delhi Government is running a drive to curb food adulteration.

Every year around Diwali, kilos of adulterated and artificial sweets and other food items like khoya, mawa, ghee, milk, cheese, flour, oil etc are seized from across the country, including Delhi and NCR.

The sale and consumption of sweets rises hugely around Diwali. In their greed, traders and sweets makers use below standard products to inflate profits, leaving the consumers vulnerable to diseases like food poisoning, skin allergies, stomach aches and infections.

However, with a little precaution and alertness, you can find out if the sweets are adulterated and if instead of natural colours and silver, chemical colours and aluminium have been used. Dr Shilpa Thakur, dietician, Asian Heart Institute of Medical Science, says there are some very simple tricks by which one can sense adulteration in sweets, especially the ones made of khoya and garnished with silver vark.

“You can rub khoya or a sweet made of khoya on your palm. It should leave oil on your palm and if doesn’t, then it is adulterated. To check if the foil on sweets is of silver or aluminium, rub the on your hand. It will stick to your hand, if it is aluminium. If it is pure, then nothing will remain,” she says.

Sweets like ladoos which appear brighter than they do naturally, should be completely avoided. Chemical colours and aluminium foil used in sweets to give them an attractive look are very harmful for the stomach. “For instance, motichoor and besan laddo should look pale yellow if natural colours have been used. Very deep coloured sweets might mean they have been adulterated,” she says.

Ravi Tej Sing, owner of Standard Burfee, Karol Bagh, says, he sends the sample of khoya and other raw material to lab for testing every week. “Around Diwali, we get the testing done twice a week. It is not always easy to know the adulteration by looking at it, but to check chemical colours, the sweet can be kept on paper and if leaves colour, it is not natural. One can rub khoya and sweets made of it on the palm and it should leave oil.”

According to experts, it is best to avoid sweets made of khoya and milk around Diwali to not let adulteration bitter your festivities. Dinesh Goel, Director, Delhi Test House, a private testing laboratory, says the demand of sweets per day rises about 50 times than on a regular day and hence increases the scope for adulterated sweetmeats to flood the markets.

“Milk, mawa, paneer and khoya are adulterated using detergent, soda, urea and other harmful products. The adulteration is done largely in areas around Delhi and the sweets are penetrated into lower segment market. It is better to avoid local markets and go ahead with brands especially in this season,” he advises.

With reports of spurious sweets and other food products being seized, many sideline traditional sweets and prefer to welcome the guests with dry fruits and chocolates. Urmila Devi, a home-maker, says, “For the last few years, we buy limited traditional sweets and include more chocolates and dry fruits. At least, there are lesser chances of them being adulterated.” So, this festive season, indulge in sweets but with a little precaution.

Published 31 October 2012, 16:14 IST

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