The food safety department is all set to train government doctors in detecting food adulteration with a rapid test, using easily available items.
The move comes close on the heels of health minister Dr C Vijayabaskar’s recent announcement in the assembly that every primary health centre would be trained in detecting adulterated food products by way of DART (detection of adulteration using rapid tests).
Now, the food safety department will conduct a training programme for around 50 doctors on rapid tests available for food items such as milk, ghee, oil, spices, sugar and fruits, at the public health office here on Thursday.
Designated food safety officer K Tamilselvan said there were many simple methods to detect water adulteration in milk. “Just put two small drops of milk on a polished slanting surface. If it is unadulterated milk, the droplet will be thick and flow down the surface very slowly. If it has water, it will flow down fast and when it falls won’t retain the colour of milk.”
He said saffron too was prone to adulteration with colouring agents and maize. “When pure saffron is put in water, its colour won’t run and spread. In adulterated saffron, the colour will run and turn the liquid into red. If bent, original saffron will not break at all while fake saffron could break.”
According to the food safety officer unadulterated asafoetida would catch fire if that were to be exposed to flames for a while.
While doctors will undergo the training on Thursday, they are expected to pass on the knowledge to paramedical staff and village health nurses in the primary health centres by December-end. “Once all the staff members are trained, they will have to set up a DART demonstration corner in the health centre on all special days like antenatal check-up days, review days and vaccination days, to help public, especially in rural areas, detect adulterated food products,” Tamilselvan said.