Food Contaminants & Adulterants

Food Contaminants

A contaminant is any physical, chemical or biological entity that is potentially undesirable for the human health. Contaminants are the substances which are not intentionally added to food items, but there are probable situations where the contaminants come in contact with a food item.

Food contaminants include bacteria, parasites and toxic residues.

Food Contamination

Food contamination is anything in food that reduces the safety or quality and is not supposed to be there. Food may be contaminated intentionally or accidentally.


Food Adulteration

Food adulteration is the process in which the quality of food is lowered either by the addition of inferior quality material or by extraction of the valuable ingredient. It not only includes the intentional addition or substitution of the substances but biological and chemical contamination during the period of growth, storage, processing, transport and distribution of the food products, is also responsible for the lowering or degradation of the quality of food products. Adulterants are those substances which are used for making the food products unsafe for human consumption.

Adulterants

An adulterant is a chemical which acts as a contaminant when combined with other substances.

Examples:

Ice Cream: Washing powder is regularly added to add volume to ice cream.

Tumeric, Coriander powder, Red Chilies:
Tumeric is mixed with metanil yellow, coloured chalk powder, aniline dyes; wood powder is added to both turmeric and coriander, while red chillies are mixed with Red colour dye, Sudan Red III colour and brick dust. Etc.