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SELECTBIO Conferences Food Processing and Analysis


Recent Trends in Food Contamination and Adulteration in India: Safety Paradigms

Mukul Das, Chief Scientist, CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research

Food is of paramount importance as it is required in sufficient quantity to provide a healthy life. There is increasing concern about food safety and food contamination either through environmental pollution or adulteration round the globe. To ensure an adequate food supply during non-agriculturally productive periods, it has become necessary to find methods to preserve and process the food. With the fast growth of food processing industries, the trend towards the use of various food additives added for technological purposes has also increased. New chemical entities are being exploited as additives in food. The adulteration of food due to deliberate mixing of inferior grade agents for disguising and to earn undue profits is also a serious problem. Furthermore, un-intentional contaminants may creep up during field production or processing and storage, which need to be evaluated. The commonly encountered food contaminants which pose serious health hazard are: (1) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a group of ubiquitous environmental pollutant in several foodstuffs including several edible oils. (2) Toxic metals in various raw and processed foodstuffs. (3) Pesticide residues especially organochlorine compounds in food grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and edible oils. (4) Mycotoxins which represent a major group of chemicals that can occur in a variety of plant food especially in tropical countries. (5) Formation of acrylamide by aspargine and reducing sugar during the preparation of French fries. (6) Presence of oxytocin (OT), in the milk of cattle after injecting OT to animals. Among the adulterants of concern are: (1) Non-permitted colours in sweets, savoury, crushed ice, hard boiled sugar confectioneries, spices, etc. (2) Adulterants in edible oils such as Argemone seed oil; butter yellow for colouration of cheaper colourless oil; tricresyl phosphate, an odourless and colourless industrial chemical. (3) Lathyrus sativus pulse and its flour in Cajanus indicus pul

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