Know the test for food aduleteration | 24 Mantra

Some Easy Tests to Detect Adulteration in Food


Some Easy Tests to Detect Adulteration in Food


what is food adulteration?

According to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), “food adulteration 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”.

How to detect food adulteration?

Here are some easy ways to find out most common cases of food adulteration.


If you want to know whether starch has been added to milk to make it thicker you can do a simple test. Take little milk and add a few drops of iodine to it, if it turns blue that indicates the presence of starch in the milk, hence food adulteration.


Sometimes sugar solution is added to honey to increase the volume. To check for food adulteration, take an earbud dip it in honey and light it. If there is no water in the honey the earbud will burn, if there is water in honey it will not burn or if it burns it does with a crackling sound. This is a test only for the presence of water.

If you want to check if the sugar solution is added to honey as food adulteration it can be found out with this simple test. Add a drop of honey in a glass of water if it disperses which means there is a sugar solution in that sample of honey. If it does not disperse that indicates that honey is pure.


If sago is adulterated with talcum and sand, a small test will tell us. Burn the sago and if it is just sago it will swell and burn to leave hardly anything. In the case of food adulteration, an appreciable amount of ash will be left behind.

Whole spices

Visually it can be seen if there is any contamination of spices with dirt, straw, insect, damaged seeds, other seeds, rodent hair and excrement. If there is too much of any of these in the spices or it smells bad infer food adulteration and discard the spices.

Spice powder

Sometimes starch is added to spice powder as an adulterant. Add a few drops of iodine to the spice powder and if it turns blue that indicates food adulteration and the presence of starch. This test is not for starch added to turmeric powder.

If common salt is added to spice powder as an adulterant, you can taste the spice powder the taste of salt is easily recognizable.

Black pepper

Black pepper which is also known as “king of spices” is commonly adulterated with papaya seeds which look similar. Papaya seeds look shrunken and oval in shape and hence easy food adulteration. They are greenish-brown or brownish-black in colour. When a few of these are put in alcohol the black pepper seeds will sink and papaya seeds if present float.

Mustard seeds

Argemone seeds are used to adulterate mustard seeds. Mustard seeds have a smooth surface and argemone seeds have a grainy and rough surface. They are black in colour and can be separated out visually if examined closely. For tetsing food adulteration, check if a mustard seed is taken between fingers and pressed it is yellow in colour inside and an argemone seed is white in colour inside. It is a simple way to find out if argemone seeds are present among mustard seeds.

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