FSSAI: Adulterated spices pose a serious health risk to consumers

Adulteration is primarily intended for economic gains. However, it may lead to serious health risks for the public. Consumption of adulterated spices for prolonged periods may result in stomach disorders, cancer, vomiting, diarrhoea, ulcers, liver disorders, skin disorders, neurotoxicity, etc.

FSSAI: Adulterated spices pose a serious health risk to consumers

India is known world over as ‘The Home of Spices’. It is a leader in the global spice market and caters to around 48 per cent of the demand for spices across the world.

We probably buy a variety of ground spices every month and when packaged spices of our choice are not available, we end up buying loose spices. This increases our risk of consuming adulterated spices.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, (FSSAI), has issued a guidance note on safe ground spices on Tuesday. In the note, it has mentioned following points for the customers:

  • Avoid buying powered spices sold loose.
  • Prefer purchasing AGMARK certified ground spices and look for AGMARK logo.
  • Check FSSAI licence number of the package label.
  • Do not buy spices with extra shine and bright colours as they are more likely to be adulterated.
  • Never purchase ground spices having lump formation or unpleasant odour.

Neeta Somkunwar, a nutritionist working at Aundh Civil hospital, Pune, said, “In chilli powder, addition of salt, brick powder, artificial colours and dyes are seen as adulterated material. In coriander powder, addition of animal dung powder is noticed. It is therefore advised, that, customers should purchase home spices and then grind at home after proper cleaning and washing. It minimises chances of adulteration.”

Due to high probability of adulteration in ground spices, FSSAI has banned the sale of ground spices in loose form. Also, FSSAI has issued a booklet for consumers where tests on how to find out if spices are adulterated or not given. It can be downloaded from the FSSAI’s official website.