Looking at the kind of foods that are getting booked for adulteration is bound to surprise everyone. For it is not just street food and iced sherbets prepared at dusty roadsides which are featuring in the list of adulterated foods. It includes everything from white oats to coca-cola to even mouth fresheners like Pass-Pass.
The largest number of pending cases are against Kerala’s own traditional snack, the banana chips, with a total of nine cases pending with the food safety wing of the Kochi corporation. Most of the complaints are regarding the use of colour in the snack.
Closely competing with banana chips is biriyani. As per the sources from the Food Safety Department, here too the main culprit is the colour used. “In food items like biriyani and other fried stuff, added colours are not permitted since their mode of cooking makes it injurious to health. But shops and hotels often disregard this,” said a source from the Food Safety Department.
In the ‘highly injurious adulterants’ category is the mango fruit that can cause grave healthy issues in its adulterated form.
This happens due to calcium carbide that is used to artificially ripen the fruit.
This substance which heats up the fruit and ripens it can cause cancer in humans.
Three cases are pending with the high court over the fruit. Similarly, lead chromate in turmeric powder is used to enhance the colour.
Though cases of this malpractice have been reported from other parts of the state, Kochi seems to be luckier for no case has been registered against it so far. Among the others listed in the ‘injurious’ category are dates, booked mostly for the presence of uric acid, peas dal and also singular cases against Coca-Cola, nestle milk chocolate and ginger beer.
Meanwhile in the general category, the most frequently booked item is honey, for the variation in sucrose levels brought about by adulteration, where it mixed with items like jaggery.
There are four cases pending against honey. Various types of milk, including cow milk and pasteurised toned milk, also have several cases pending against them.
Other offenders include chicken, beef and fish fry, tamarind, urad dal, coriander powder, various sauces, fruits like apple, vanilla icecream, coconut oil and so on.