How to Check Adulteration Of Spices?

  • Jun, 21 , 23
  • Zoff Foods

There is rarely any mainstream Indian cuisine that does not comprise any spices in it. In ancient times, the use of spices in food started to keep everyday food fresh. Soon, people started using spices to preserve some of the food items for a long time. When people started realizing the aroma and flavors that these spices induced in food, they became an eminent part of every Indian household. 

Apart from preservation, aroma, and flavors, spices also have several health benefits . Boosting immunity is one of the major benefits of using different spices in food, only if the spices consumed are pure and free from any adulteration.

What is Adulteration? 

What is adulteration

Adulterant is a substance that is added to any food item to either degrade its quality or to make it unsafe. Not just adding an adulterant, but even sometimes, removing or abstracting some substances from the food may also lead to adulteration. In India, 

We often notice elders speaking of the fact that everything in their years, especially food items such as spices was pure and safe. The fact is that spices adulteration started only a few years ago by some individuals who wish to earn more by compromising the quality of the food item such as spices.  

As mentioned earlier, spices not just enhance the flavor of food but also offers health benefits such as boosting the immune system of our body. The nutrient value of the spices such as turmeric, cumin seeds, and many others remained intact when women grounded them at home earlier. 

But today due to a busy lifestyle and lack of extra time, most households depend upon packaged spices in place of home-grounded ones. Not selecting the right brand may lead you to use adulterated spices that not just deteriorate the flavor of your food but also may harm your health in different ways.

Why Are Ground Spices Adulterated? 

Spices such as cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and similar others can be used as a whole spices as well as in powder form. Earlier, women used to ground spices at home and the purity was completely maintained. But soon when more households started using packaged powdered spices, the scenario changed to quite an extent. When the demand for such packaged spices increased, many spice dealers and companies started adulteration of spices. It is necessary to follow FSSAI guidelines of adulteration of spices.

Often, artificial colors, chalk powder, starch, and similar items are added to ground spice powder to adulterate them. There are several reasons why often ground spices are adulterated and some of the common reasons are:

  • Increasing the weight of the spice powder packet
  • Enhancing the appearance of the spices

Many dealers follow the process of adulteration to mask the low grade and sub-standard quality of the spices. The low-quality spices will be sold at the price of high-quality spices after adultering them to make them look good. 

Tips to Check the Adulteration in the Spices

While you cannot control the adulteration of spices, you can always ensure to get a high-quality product by checking them properly. Here are some eminent methods of how to check adulteration in spices. 

1. How To Check Adulteration of Red Chili and Turmeric?

Red chili powder adulteration check

Spices such as red chili powder and turmeric are the most common spice that undergoes adulteration in the form of artificial colors and even contamination. Mix a spoonful of red chili powder or turmeric in a glass of water. Pure red chili powder will sink at the glass bottom while adulterated one will float. Similarly, pure turmeric will sink in water while the adulterated one will make the water completely yellow. 


Turmeric adulteration check

2. Adulteration Check of Black Pepper

black pepper adulteration check

Light berries and papaya seeds are mixed with black pepper most commonly as a form of adulteration. When you mix black pepper in water, only actual pure black pepper will sit at the vessel's bottom while other contaminations will float on the water's surface. 

3. How to Check Adulteration of Asafetida?

Asafetida adulteration check

Asafetida(hing) is a common spice in every Indian household that is held beneficial, especially for kids. Crush some asafetida and dissolve it in water. If the asafetida dissolves without leaving behind any color in the water, then it is pure.

4. Salt Adulteration Check

Salt adulteration check

Even salt these days is adulterated. Mixing pure salt in the water will not leave behind any sediment or haziness in the water. If it does, then your salt has got chalk in it. 

5. Adulteration Check of Cloves at Home

Cloves adulteration check

Cloves are most commonly covered in harmful oils to make them appear fresh. When you drop cloves in a glass full of water, the fresh cloves will go straight down at the bottom while the polished ones will start floating on the surface. 

6. How to Check Adulteration of Cumin?

Cumin seeds adulteration check

You can check cumin seeds by rubbing them in between your fingers. Your fingers will go dark if you are rubbing adulterated one, and the pure cumin seeds does not make your hands dark.

7. Mustard Seeds and Cinnamon Spices Adulteration Check

Mustard seeds adulteration check

There are also many spices that you can check just by observing them. For example, pure mustard seeds are smooth in texture while adulterated ones are wrinkled and grainy. Similarly, you can easily check out cinnamon as pure cinnamon will roll easily and are thin in texture. 

Cinnamon adulteration check

What You Should Check Before Buying Spices?

While there are so many ways for spices adulteration check, here are some essential tips that you can follow to avoid adulterated spices. 

  • Avoid buying loose spices and go for a reliable brand.
  • Check for the FSSAI logo on the packaging to be sure of the safety measures.
  • Also, have a look at the ingredients section to have better transparency of the spice blends. 

When you are aware of such tips, you can surely come up with pure and quality spices to ensure that you stay away from harmful adulterations. 

What Can Spices and Herbs Exporters Do? 

Exporting unadulterated spices not just ensures the health and safety of the customers but also maintains the reputation of the exporter. Here are some of the essential tips that spices and herbs exporters should maintain in this light. 

1) Maintain Proper Quality

Maintaining the proper quality of spices and herbs is extremely essential in the first place. You should ensure proper cleaning and should make sure to deal in the best quality products without any adulteration process. 

2) Ensure Reliability of the Packaging

At times, poor packaging may lead to loss of quality of food items in transit. Hence, make sure that you have ensured proper packaging quality to avoid unintentional adulteration of spices

3) Get a Reliable Logistics Partner

It is also essential that get in touch with a logistics partner that can be trusted. Often manhandling of the packaging can also cause damage and this can also degrade the quality. Also, one of the best things is to get a logistics partner who can offer you insurance for the goods in transit. 

4) Focus on Documentation

When you are selling your products crossing boundaries, you should make sure to have a proper contract with the importer so that you do not have to face trouble later on regarding payment or other issues. 

5) Check Customs Carefully

Different countries have different regulations, especially in the case of customs. Ensure that you are aware of the customs regulations carefully before you start the export of the spices and herbs to avoid any losses. 

While some adulteration processes are intentional, there are many others that are unintentional. If you do not want your spices and herbs to lose quality in transit, you should make sure to ensure proper methods of exporting such as great packaging, proper labeling, and hiring the best logistics partner. 

It is quite obvious that following so many tips to ensure the purity of spices can be extremely daunting. Hence, another best way is to go for a reliable brand such as Zoff Foods for all your spices requirements. 

Zoff offers authentic and organic spices that are free from adulteration and ensures a great taste in your cooking as well as great health for your family. Check out a wide range of spices available at Zoff for all your needs.