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Food Adulteration Tests

There are some very simple food adulteration tests that can be conducted at home to know if the food is adulterated or pure. The FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has issued a document – titled DART, which stands for ‘Detect Adulteration with Rapid Test’ – summarising easy and simple ways via which consumers can detect food adulteration. We are reproducing few common ones here:

Ways to Detect Food Adulteration


Detection of water in milk

Put a drop of milk on a polished slanting surface. Pure milk either stays or flows slowly leaving a whte trail behind. Milk adulterated with water will flow immediately without leaving a mark

Detection of detergent in milk

Take 5 to 10ml of sample with an equal amount of water. Shake the contents thoroughly. If milk is adulterated with detergent, it forms dense lather. Pure milk will form very thin foam layer due to agitation.

Detection of starch in milk and milk products (khoya, chenna, paneer)

Boil 2-3 ml of sample with 5ml of water. Cool and add 2-3 drops of tincture of iodine. Formation of blue color indicates the presence of starch. (In the case of milk, addition of water and boiling is not required)


6 Pure Honey Tests
Adulteration of honey means it is impure, artificial or adulterated. Glucose, dextrose, molasses, sugar syrup, invert sugar, corn syrup, or any other similar product may have been added to it Check tests here



Take a teaspoon (tsp) of tea and put it in a glass. Pour hot water. Good tea will take three minutes to give colour; the bad takes 30 seconds.

Leaf Tea

Take a tsp of tea and put it in a glass. Pour hot water and let it steep for three minutes. The inferior tea will reveal leaves, stalks and dust, while the other will show a uniform hue


Take an airtight container and put in the tea. Shut the lid tightly. Open after 24 hours. A musty odour will emerge if the tea is inferior. Good tea will give off fragrance


Detection of other oils in Coconut oil

Coconut solidifies when cooled and this property can be used to check the adulteration of other oils in it. Take a transparent glass and keep in the refrigerator. Don’t freeze. After a few hours, the coconut layer will solidify and will be a separate layer if it has adulteration of other oils.


Detection of Sugar in Honey

Pure honey never disperses in water. Take a spoonful of honey and stir it in a transparent glass. If it disperses, it has been adulterated. Another property of honey is to burn.  Take a cotton swab dipped in honey and light with a match stick.    If it has sugar solution in it, it won’t allow it to burn and if it does burn, there will be a crackling sound.

Detection of Chalk Powder in Sugar

Take a glass of water and add a spoonful of sugar. Sugar will dissolve in water and chalk powder being heavier will settle down. Use this property to detect chalk adulteration in sugar.

Food Grains

Detection of Color in Food Grains or Pulses

Color will dissolve in water. Natural grains or pulses do not leave any color when dissolved in water.


Detection of color in Red Chili Powder

Artificial color will leave a streak the moment you will add red chilli powder to water and the pure one will just float on the surface leaving no immediate streak.  

Detection of Synthetic Color in Turmeric

Pure turmeric when added to water will settle down leaving light yellow color while synthetically colored turmeric powder will leave a streak of dark yellow color.

Detection of Papaya Seeds in Black Pepper

Papaya seeds are lighter and will float. Take a glass of water and add a spoonful of pepper seeds. Black pepper will settle down and papaya seeds will come up to the surface.

How to report Food Adulteration to FSSAI

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has taken the initiative to encourage more complaints from consumers. Now, if a food purchased by a person is established as adulterated, the cost of getting it tested is reimbursed by the FSSAI. So, if someone gets suspicious about any food product and gets it tested at FSSAI-accredited laboratories, the cost of the lab test will be reimbursed. The test process costs about Rs 2,000–Rs 5,000 per food item. FSSAI has developed an app to Report a problem with food on the Food Safety Connect Application (App)

Comparative Product Testing of Food Products done by Consumer VOICE

Consumer VOICE regularly tests food products to check the authenticity of purity claims of various brands.  Tests are done at NABL accredited labs as per the specifications and parameters defined by FSS Regulations and India Standards. Comparative Product Testing reports give you the actual values of energy, protein, calcium, iodine, vitamins, fatty acids, moisture and much more. Presence of insoluble impurities, foreign matter and adulteration is also reported. You will also find the safer limits of each parameter. Basis the tests, Consumer VOICE experts suggest the Best brands along with Value for Money.  For detailed Comparative Product Testing methodology, click here.

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Divya Patwal


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