food adulteration testing

Food adulteration also known as food fraud is an act of intentionally debasing the quality of food offered for sale either by the admixture or substitution of inferior substances or by the removal of some valuable ingredient.  Food Adulteration takes into account not only the intentional addition or substitution or abstraction of substances which adversely affect nature, substances and quality of foods, but also their incidental contamination during the period of growth, harvesting, storage, processing, transport and distribution.

Adulterated food is dangerous because it may be toxic and can affect health and it could deprive nutrients essential for proper growth and development.  Food adulteration testing therefore plays a critical role in assessing food quality as well as food safety.

Some of the common cases of food adulteration include:

  • Milk is adulterated using water, artificial colours, detergents, urea, formalin etc.  In recent times milk has also been foundfood adulteration testingto be adulterated with Melamine to artificially increase the nitrogen content. The common methods used to test for protein levels fail to distinguish between nitrogen in melamine and naturally occurring in amino acids, allowing the protein levels to be falsified.
  • Sudan dyes or brick powder being used to give artificial colouring to red chillies
  • Mustard seed adulterated with Argemone seeds, that can be fatal if consumed.
  • Various edible oils are adulterated with castor oil
  • Butter is adulterated with vanaspati or margarine
  • Black pepper is adulterated with papaya seeds

AES Laboratories has full technical competencies to carry out food adulteration testing.  Our lab is fully equipped with and utilises advance instrumentation like chromatography, mass spectrometry, spectroscopy and chemical analysis for identification and determination food adulterants.