In a sensational case that exposes the widespread food adulteration business in India, cops raided a factory in Outer North Delhi’s Bawana area that used to manufacture fake jeera or cumin seeds. The scale of operations can be gauged from the fact that the Delhi Police seized around 20,000 kgs of fake jeera. Usually the cumin seeds are sold for Rs 400 per kg. However, this Bawana factory used to sell Jeera for as low as Rs 20 per kg. According to the police, the accused have been identified as Harinandan, Kamran, Ganga Prasad, Harish and Pawan, who are all natives of Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh. They used to mix fake cumin with the original in 80:20 proportion.
Around 20,000 kilogram of fake cumin along with 5,250 kg stone powder, 1,600 kg grass and 1,225 kg sheera were seized from the arrested accused, the police officials said.
"Police got a tip-off regarding the fake cumin factory, following which a raid was conducted along with officials of FSSAI, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer North) Gaurav Sharma said. Harinandan and one absconding accused are the main conspirators and the other four arrested are labourers. They used to purchase raw material from Rajasthan and sold fake cumin in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the police official said.
In India, food adulteration has reached to an alarming level. From milk to spices to sweets, black marketeers have been using inferior quality raw material to manufacture adulterated food for more profits. According the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s Annual Public Laboratory Testing Report for 2014-15 brought, the 49,290 samples of food items it tested, 8,469, nearly one-fifth, were found adulterated or misbranded.
Another report by the Public Health Foundation of India 80 per cent of all premature deaths were due to contaminated food and water. Children and elderly people are the most vulnerable to these toxins in food. Although some people say that in a country where 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, there should be less stress on adulterated food and more on the fact that people should have enough food to eat.
The FSSAI has brought out a manual to help people to detect adulrateted food. “Food is essential for sustenance of life. Adulteration of food deceive the consumer and can cause risk to their health. The purpose of this manual is to list out common methodologies available for food adulterants generally found in India. The scope of this manual is meant for household, which can induce awareness among the consumer about food safety,” the government agency said.