Turmeric occupies highest regards in the food and religious culture of india. It is used for religious rituals and is a regular food ingredient. It is a scientifically proven medicine with anti-septic and anti-microbial properties. Imagine Turmeric being replaced (adulterated) with toxic chemicals! The food and medicine that is supposed to save your life is taking the life?
The turmeric powder is mixed with cheaply available substances such as metanil yellow, lead chromate, yellow chalk powder and yellow clay to enhance the color, quantity and make more profit.
Metanil yellow is toxicologically classiﬁed as a Class II category by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Hazra et al., 2016). Metanil yellow can induce damage in heart, liver, kidneys, nervous system, gastric tissue, intestines, reproductive and excretory systems. Long-term consumption of metanil yellow causes neurotoxicity, hepatocellular carcinoma (Sarkar and Ghosh, 2012), tumor development (Sarkar, 2013), deleterious effect on gastric mucin (Sarkar and Ghosh, 2010), and lymphocytic leukemia (Sarkar and Ghosh, 2012).
Lead Chromate is another yellow coloured chemical added or substituent in Turmeric. The lead accumulates in the body and cannot be easily removed which indicates that it should not be consumed in the first place. Lead adversely effects the brain development and nervous system of children by damaging the granular and purkinje cell layer of brain. The neuro transmitters levels in the stratum, brain stem are effected, leading to attention deficit/ mental retardation/coma in Children. In adults, lead increases the risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage.
Fillers like yellow chalk and clay have no nutritional value and can cause stomach related disturbances including massive diarrhea.
How to know if turmeric is adulterated?
A home-based test of adding turmeric to water and a yellowish colour may indicated the presence of adulteration. However, it is subjective and difficult to conclude. The turmeric adulteration test kit developed by VeriPure could easily identify metanil yellow and lead chromate. Ideally, a wholesale buyer, food packaging and selling business could test the turmeric prior to or after purchase and ensure non-adulterated and good quality turmeric provided to consumers and businesses.
What to do if turmeric is adulterated?
A business could question the suppler of adulterated turmeric. A consumer could return the adulterated turmeric to retailer or test a few brands of turmeric and choose a good one. The local food safety officials could be alerted regarding the adulteration.