Food adulteration rife in Kerala; even pazham pori is unsafe

food aulteration
In many of the food items poisonous chemicals were found. Representational image: Giovanni Cancemi /

Thiruvananthapuram: Poisonous chemical substances including pesticides and banned artificial colours are aplenty in the food eaten by Keralites. This was revealed in the tests conducted by the Food Safety Department’s laboratories in the State over the past few months.

Tartrazine was found to be many times higher than acceptable quantities in instant pre-mix tea, jaggery, mixture and other such snacks. The pesticide content was found to be 1,700 per cent higher in the chilly powder sample collected from the Supplyco Labham market in December 2022.

A branded flavoured milk of badam flavour contains a banned preservative named benzoate, as per the report. The yeast mould is 740 per cent higher in sambharam (buttermilk-based drink) manufactured by a private company. The sample green peas collected for testing were found to contain synthetic colours tartrazine and brilliant blue which are not permitted at all.

About 260 per cent more bacteria were found in soda that must be ‘pure’.

Other harmful components in food items found as per the lab report include benzoic acid in plum cake, Thiamethoxam in guava, sorbic acid in fruit cake, date cake and plum cake, sunset yellow synthetic colour in shawarma, chicken fry, fried peanuts, tutti-frutti, sorbet colour in pudding cake, sunset yellow FCF in kuzhi mandi and chicken mandi, tartrazine in banana fritters (pazham pori), carmoisine in tomato murukku, sorbet in laddu, a pesticide called chlorpyrifos ethyl in corn flour and idiyappam flour (fine rice flour) and the presence of salmonella bacteria in the chicken burger.

These are the findings from the tests done in December 2022 and January 2023. Besides, the excreta of certain organisms including rats as well as traces of pesticides, weedicides and antibiotics were also found to be present in many food items tested over the past few months.

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