Check the Paneer You Eat
Kaju roll, kaju barfi, kalakand, paneer cutlet, paneer chilly, shahi paneer.....the list is long. They all look so attractive and taste even better, but they are not always the healthiest as khoya and paneer, the two basic ingredients used to prepare them, are often found adulterated.
The next time you order any dish with 'paneer' (cottage cheese) in any hotel, be careful. It may not have in it even traces of milk, the base ingredient for making it. Adulterated paneer made of urea and other harmful chemicals has flooded the market.Those who stick to vegetarian food during the festive season should be careful about the paneer they buy.
A preliminary report prepared by the food safety wing of the health department has revealed that the samples of paneer (cottage cheese) collected from a dozen shops in various cities have been found to be adulterated.
The initial investigation suggests that 95 per cent cottage cheese is adulterated. Starch was found in the samples we collected. What is shocking that some of the cottage cheese samples were taken from some branded eateries.
Starch is added to cottage cheese to increase its quantity. Eating starch would have no harmful effect on the body. "Though starch is not directly harmful, but often adulterated products lead to food poisoning, stomach aches and allergies as they also contain hazardous chemicals. Hence, milk products must be avoided in festive seasons."
What if the paneer that has numerous health benefits, which your husband lovingly eats is full of unhealthy starch? There are certain tests you can easily perform in your kitchen with the help of easily available ingredients to assess the purity of these products which help you distinguish between adulterated and pure food.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) defines food adulteration as an act of intentionally debasing the quality of food offered for sale either by admixture or substitution of inferior substances or by removal of some valuable ingredient.
It is indeed easy to check adulteration in paneer. All one needs to do is to put a drop or two of iodine solution on raw paneer and if it changes colour to blue-black, it is adulterated and full of starch.
Simple Test of Ghee/ Cottage cheese or paneer/condensed milk,
khoa, milk powder
1. Test for Coal tar dyes
To a melted sample of the product add approximately 5 ml of dilute sulphuric acid or concentrated hydrochloric acid. Appearance of pink colour in case of sulphuric acid and red incase of hydrochloric acid indicates presence of coal tar dyes.
2. Test for Starch
Add a few drops of iodine to the sample, if the brown colour becomes blue, it indicates presence of mashed potatoes.
The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (1954), aims at preventing food adulteration and under this act any person who manufactures for sale, stores, imports for sale or distributes any article of food which is adulterated or misbranded, is liable to be punishment with imprisonment and fine. If you ever find that your food item is adulterated or misbranded you can contact the National Consumer Helpline on its toll free no-1800-11-4000. You can also visit their website- www.nationalconsumerhelpline.in.
Likewise you can also address your complaints to Food and Drugs administration in your city.