17 June 2015

Is that food on your plate?

Poison in our kitchen: How deadly chemicals have invaded India's food chain

Wake up and smell the coffee. Err...maybe, not. Who wants to start a new day with the depressing possibility that the first drink you chug down may have coffee-flavoured mud, starch or worse? A good ol' cuppa tea, then? What if it has coal tar dye? You'll end up with lung or skin cancer. Ouch. Pour out some apple juice. And puke your way to nirvana? It may just have fungi patulin. How about a glass of ice-cold milk? Brace for a jolt of deadly chemicals: antibiotic gentamicin, pumped indiscriminately into cows, that will give you hard-to-treat infections; pesticide boric acid that kills cockroaches and gives humans lead poisoning; preservative formalin that can change your kidneys forever. So just drink some water. But, first, pray that there's no bromate lurking in it, to turn on your cancer genes.

Wolf of food street
With the great instant noodle scare in the last few days, a fear psychosis has gripped the nation. Every food on your plate is suspect: all the items above have been recorded, reported or recalled by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) ever since it came into being in 2011. Harmful, dangerous, alien chemicals and non-foods are secretly invading our lives, as a culture of infectious greed grips much of our food chain: from farm to fork. At any given point, someone somewhere along multiple touch points on that chain is trying to get rich by altering, substituting, passing off or turning a blind eye to unacceptable processes and materials. A terrible human and economic cost looms large.

India is the world's worst food violator, reports global food source monitoring company, Food Sentry. China follows closely and the US is also one of the top 10. Most violated foods are raw or minimally processed, including seafood, vegetables, fruits, spices, dairy products, meats and grains. More than a third of food frauds take place due to "excessive or illegal pesticides", pathogen contamination and filth or insanitary conditions. "What's worrying is the mislabelling on products of packaged foods," says Dr Suneeta Chandorkar, Assistant Professor, Department of Food and Nutrition, Faculty of Family and Community Services, MS University, Vadodara. "They all say 'healthy' but tests have shown they are hardly that."

Read the post from indiatoday.indiatoday.in

No comments:

Post a Comment