For Diwali Uttarakhand Capital Sweatmeat Shops Make A Killing With 70 percent Adulteration

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Dehradun : Its festival time, when people splurge on sweetmeats and other edibles. It is also time for the unscrupulous elements to make a quick buck by adultering the items as has been the practice in the capilat city of Uttarakhand.

Society of Pollution and Environmental Conservation Scientists (SPECS) had their annual survey at this time of the year again and it has revealed that most of the sweetmeat shops, (thanks not all) in the city were selling adulterated things.

The survey found that around 70 per cent of the samples of paneer, gulab jamun and milk cake were adulterated with soya bean flour and starch. Samples of mustard oil and vermilion (roli) were found adulterated with a non-permitted food colour – metanil yellow – and lead chromate, a compound that emits toxic chromium fumes upon heating.

Brij Sharma, secretary, SPECS said that of the 218 samples that were tested, 163 were found adulterated.. “The samples were collected from sweetmeat shops at Hanuman Chowk, Saharanpur Chowk, Patel Nagar, Clement Town, Dharampur, Majra, Karanpur, Jakhan, Krishan Nagar and other localities during three days starting Oct 24”, he added.

Sharma said that samples of raj bog, ladoos and pethas were also found adulterated with metanil yellow while turmeric and chilly powder had lead chromate and Sudan dye. Coriander powder was mixed with dust, he claimed.

He said that half of the bakery products were adulterated with sub standard flour and low grade fat, adding that urea, detergent, refined oil, dry milk and starch was found in milk samples. “Drinking such adulterated milk can cause stomach disorder, problems of the liver and kidney, skin diseases and hair loss”, he pointed out.

When contacted and official of the state government said that during the festive season occasional roads are held and a strict watch kept on produce specially khoya that come from outside the state. “A large amount of spurious khoya was caught and destroyed and checks are even held from time to time to prevent adulteration”, he added.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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