Do you really know what you’re eating? Probably not, even when you buy something at the grocery store after carefully reading all the ingredients mentioned. You may think that you are making a healthy choice, but you may not know that foods we eat every day are packed with things are not supposed to be there in the first place.
In order to cut costs, many food manufacturers cut the primary ingredient with something less expensive. And you may be shocked to know that the top 11 most frequently adulterated foods are things that many of us eat every day, without realizing that these food items may be adulterated. Most of these adulterants are not typically found in food products, which is why they often go unnoticed.
This is not a reason to panic though. The best way to avoid these adulterants is to purchase your food products from a vendor you trust.
Here are 11 of the most ‘fraudulent foods’ you should watch out for.
Olive oil: You probably won’t find any other oil that is as healthy as olive oil. Olive oil as we know helps lower the LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and is also good for your skin. But recent studies suggest that olive oil, even extra-virgin olive oil is one of the most adulterated food product, usually cut by hazelnut oil. Other ‘fraudulent’ ingredients may include sunflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, soyabean oil, palm oil and walnut oil.
Milk: If you think that the milk you drink always comes from a cow, you are mistaken. There may actually a whole bunch of other producers in your carton of milk. Sheep’s milk has been found to be cut with bovine milk, and buffalo milk with goat-antelope milk. Milk is sometimes also adulterated with reconstituted milk powder, urea and rennet.
Honey: Used for its sweet taste and for medicinal purposes as well. But it is also one of the most commonly adulterated food products. You may also find sugar syrup, corn syrup, fructose, glucose, beet sugar and sometimes ‘honey from a non-authentic geographic region’.
Saffron: You would expect the most expensive spice in the world to be free of any adulterations, but you would be surprised to know that scientists have found glycerin, sandalwood dust, tartrazine (a yellow dye linked to hyperactivity among children and lupus), barium sulfate and borax.
Orange juice: We’ve all seen packaged drinks and juices in the past adulterated with illegal fungicides and here are a few more reasons why freshly squeezed fruit juice is always better than the packed product. Certain orange juice products have been found to have unlisted lemon juice, mandarin juice, grapefruit juice, high fructose corn syrup, paprika extract and beet sugar as adulterants.
Coffee: We all love a cup of coffee to kick-start our perfect mornings. But what if you find out, that instead of a freshly brewed cup of coffee, you’re holding a cup of freshly brewed twigs? That’s what some researchers have found in coffee, along with roasted corn, ground roasted barley and even roasted ground parchment. Adulterants in instant coffee include chicory, cereals, caramel, starch, malt and figs.
Apple juice: Another juice consumed a lot of people looking after their health. But that does not mean that it is free of any adulterants. Grape juice, high fructose corn syrup, pear and pineapple juices, raisin sweetener, fig juice, fructose and malic acid have been detected in apple juice.
Tea: A drink that many prefer their day with. But you probably don’t want to start your mornings with leaves from other plants, colour additives or even coloured saw dust that have been found in certain tea products.
Fish: Recent studies reveal that many fishes labeled ‘white tuna’ and ‘butterfish’ are often other fishes called escolar which banned in countries like Italy and Japan because of its waxy esters that can cuase food poisoning. ‘Monkfish’ is sometimes a disguise for puffer fish which has caused tetrodotoxin poisonings in the past.
Clouding agents: The glass of fruit juice may look like it is freshly-squeezed, but you can never be certain of it. Fraudulent replacements for palm oil and other acceptable food ingredients are rampant. The most common fraudster being the plasticizer called Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), a chemical linked with cancer and thwarted reproductive development in children.
Black pepper: Pepper has a history of being adulterated with starch, papaya seeds, flour, buckwheat and milet.
For more diet tips or to consult with one of our dieticians, you can visit www.asianheartinstitute.org or call +91 99201 55000.