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  • Category: Nutrition

    How to detect adulteration in spices at home?


    Wondering how to detect adulteration in spices? Check out advice from experts on this page.

    It is said that sub-standard and adulterated spices are sold in the market to the unsuspecting customers. It is more so in cases of the ground spices sold in open in retail. Are there easy methods to at least carry out preliminary checks for such adulterations at home by the users?
    Experts: do respond.
  • #138877
    Adulterators use very clever methods and the users do not have adequate knowledge of original spices. Hence it has come to be difficult to detect adulteration easily. It is all the more difficult in the case of ground spices and masala.

    However we can still use some quick and handy methods which may indicate adulteration.
    1. You find that for the same effect of taste and smell, you have to use more quantity now.
    2. The one item you now get is given at much discount , even though the unground spice ingredients are still selling at high cost.
    3. Add water to a little of the spice and stir and allow to settle. If you find some thing unusual floating or settled at bottom and different from the spice, then you can doubt adulteration.
    4. In 3 above if after washing, the spice powder loses its colour, then you can doubt adulteration.
    5. If you feel the texture and feel light and different, or extra heavy, then you may doubt adulteration.

    One way you can avoid adulterated goods is to stick with the local vendor, who is in the business for decades and has a reputation locally and knows you personally. A chat with him can help you how to detect adulteration and which type and brands to avoid.

  • #139052
    Adulterated food is harmful to health and cause severe ill-effects if consumed for a longer duration. Thus, one has to consume unadulterated foods and spices. However, today most of the food stuffs are adulterated to reap more financial benefits and also this has resulted in lowering their nutritional value as well as increasing the risk of causing severe illnesses. Spices especially ground ones are mostly adulterated and their excessive consumption which is especially done in Indian food causes severe harmful effects on body.

    There are several methods by which unadulterated spices can be distinguished from adulterated one by following simple methods at home itself. They are:-
    1) Chilli powder-
    Dissolve a teaspoon full of chilli powder in glass of water. If color of water changes then chilli powder is adulterated with addition of some red coloring agent to it. Sometimes powder made of brick or sand is added to chilli powder. Take a teaspoon full of chilli powder and rub bottom of glass on it. If some grittiness is felt then definitely it indicates that there is addition of sand or brick powder in it.

    2) Cumin seeds-
    Take some cumin seeds in your palm and gently rub these seeds between your palms or with the help of fingers. If seeds discolor your palms then there is presence of grass seeds among cumin seeds. Grass seeds are usually colored with charcoal dust to give the appearance of cumin seeds.

    3) Turmeric powder/ Whole turmeric-
    Dissolve a teaspoonful of turmeric powder in half glass of warm water. Hydrochloric acid is usually very commonly available in market. Add few drops of hydrochloric acid to this solution and if it turns violet or pink then turmeric powder is adulterated with addition of metanil yellow color. Lead chromate can be detected if water turns yellow when whole turmeric is added to it.

    4) Black pepper-
    Papaya seeds are added in bulk to it and high benefits are reaped by selling it in wholesale market. To detect adulteration, immerse some black pepper in alcohol. The one which floats on surface are papaya seeds and the one which immerse deep down are black pepper. Also, on visual examination if done carefully one can identify the difference between these seeds. Papaya seeds are usually greenish or gray in color and are slightly shrunken giving an oval appearance. Whereas black pepper are rich dark color and are more rounded.

    5) Cloves-
    Cloves are adulterated with cloves itself. However, the only difference is oil is extracted from them which makes them less pungent. One can identify them easily on visual examination as they are small in size and usually shrunken.

    6) Coffee powder-
    Usually coffee powder is adulterated by addition of chicory. To detect adulteration, sprinkle some coffee powder gently on surface of water contained in a glass. Coffee powder remains on surface for certain duration whereas chicory quickly immerses making it way at the bottom of the glass.

    7) Mustard seeds-
    Argemone seeds are added to it which can be identified by careful visual examination. Mustard seeds can be pressed and has a yellow core whereas argemone seeds cannot be pressed easily and has a white core.

    8) Saffron-
    Maize crops tendrils are dried and coloring agent is added to them which gives them appearance of saffron. To detect adulteration, dissolve them. Saffron will start leaving color after certain period of time whereas adulterated one due to presence of coloring agent will leave color immediately. Also, saffron will continue to leave color until it dissolves completely and even under substantial pressure do not breaks or crumbles.


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