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Health and Hygiene-Food for Living - Adulteration | 9th Science : Health and Hygiene-Food for Living

Chapter: 9th Science : Health and Hygiene-Food for Living


Food safety is becoming a major concern in these days.


Observe the picture

What do you think the man in the picture is doing?

Food safety is becoming a major concern in these days. Food is contaminated or adulterated from production to consumption for financial gain or due to ignorance, carelessness and poor hygienic conditions during processing, storing and marketing. Adulteration is defined as “the addition or subtraction of any substance to or from food, so that the natural composition and the quality of food substance is affected.”

Some of the common adulterated foods are milk and milk products, cereals, pulses, co ee powder, tea powder, turmeric powder, sa ron, confectionary, non-alcoholic beverages, spices, edible oils, meat, poultry products etc. The adulterants in food can be classi ed in three categories based on whether they occur naturally in food, or added intentionally or unintentionally.


Types of adulterants


1. Natural adulterants

Natural adulterants are those chemicals, organic compounds or radicals that are naturally present in food. They include,

a.     Naturally occurring toxic substances in certain poisonous mushrooms, Prussic acid in seeds of apples, cherry and peach pits, marine toxins, fish oil poisoning etc.,

b.     Environmental contaminants like pollutants in air, water and land.


2. Incidental/ unintentionally added adulterants

These types of adulterants are added unknowingly due to ignorance or carelessness during food handling and packaging. It includes

a. Pesticide residues

b. Droppings of rodents, insects, rodent bites and larva in food during its storage

c. Microbial contamination due to the presence of pathogens like Escherichia coli, Salmonella in fruits, vegetables, ready-to-eat meat and poultry products


3. Intentionally added adulterants

These adulterants are added intentionally for financial gain and have serious impact on the health of the consumers. These types of adulterants include:

a.     Additives and preservatives like vinegar, citric acid, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), hydrogen peroxide in milk, modified food starch, food flavours, synthetic preservatives and artificial sweeteners.

b.     Chemicals like calcium carbide to ripen bananas and mangoes.

c.      Non certified food colours containing chemicals like metallic lead are used to give colours to vegetables like green leafy vegetables, bitter gourd, green peas etc. These colours are added to give a fresh look to the vegetables.

d.     Edible synthetic wax like shellac or carnauba wax is coated on fruits like apple, pear to give a shining appearance.

e.      Growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics are administered as adulterants to vegetables, cattle, sheep and poultry for faster growth and to increase milk production in dairy cows.

·        How these apples are different in their appearance?

·        Why is it so?

·        Which one is safe for consumption?

Consumption of these adulterated foods may lead to serious health issues like fever, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal disorders, asthma, allergy, neurological disorder, skin allergies, immune suppression, kidney and liver failure, colon cancer and even birth defects.

Fruit flies are more attracted towards fruits that are naturally ripened.

Difference between naturally ripened fruit and artificially ripened fruit


Some simple techniques used to detect adulterants at home



Project: Collect information on the methods of organic or non-chemical farming and its role in maintaining food quality.


Food quality control agencies of our Country

Food should be pure, nutritious and free from any adulteration for proper maintenance of human health.

It is the duty of every government to make pure and safe food available to public in sufficient quantities. In 1954, the Indian government enacted the food law known as Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules in 1955 with the objective of ensuring pure and wholesome food to the consumers and protect them from fraudulent trade practices.

Minimum standards of quality for food and strict hygienic conditions for its sale are clearly outlined in the Act. Any food that does not conform to the minimum standards laid down in the Act is said to be adulterated. The Act also intends to penalise the dealers who are engaged in the production and sale of contaminated food substances. is Act is periodically amended based on requirements.

Quality control agencies such as

·        ISI, AGMARK, FPO, FCI and other health departments enforce minimum standards for the consumer products.

FCI (Food Corporation of India) was set up in the year 1965 with the following objectives:

·        Effective price support operations for safeguarding the interest of farmers.

·        Distributing food grains throughout the country.


Food control agencies, their standardized mark and their role in food safety

·        Maintaining satisfactory levels of operational and buffer stock of food grains to ensure national security.

·        Regulate the market price to provide food grains to consumers at reliable price.


A Case Study

Siddanth came back from school. He was feeling very hungry. His mother sent him to buy a packet of biscuits from a nearby shop. When his mother opened the packet, she realized that it was not fresh. So she asked him to return the packet for a new one.

What do you think Siddanth should have observed before buying the biscuit packet?



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