ADULTERATION OF FOODS – BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
Dr. Sunil Abraham Nainan
‘Adulteration’ very simply means, ‘to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance or element; especially to prepare for sale by replacing more valuable with less valuable or inert ingredients or can also mean ‘ to add a chemical substance to food/beverages etc, which should not be contained within it for legal or other reasons’.
The common adulterants are:
water (mixed with milk), vanaspati / a hydrogenated vegetable cooking oil (mixed with ghee / clarified butter), chalk powder (with flour), chicory(with coffee), papaya seeds (with pepper), brick powder (with chilly powder), wood powder(with turmeric or coriander powder), etc. Most of these adulterants can cause significant disease to the users of these food stuff.
In addition, numerous unapproved coloring agents are used to enhance the looks of food stuff; preservatives are used to prolong shelf lives. All of these can cause serious health issues if used for a prolonged time.
In 2008, significant portions of China’s infant milk formulas were found to have been contaminated with melamine (to artificially increase protein content). Thousands of people were believed to be harmed.
In 2012, a study in India conducted by FSSAI (Food Safety Standards Authority of India) across 33 states found that milk is adulterated with detergent, fat and even urea, as well as diluted with water. Of the 1791 random samples, only 31.5 % conformed to the FSSAI Standards !!!
Food adulteration in India seems to be getting widespread and deadlier by the day. There are reports of fruits, particularly mangoes being ripened with calcium carbide, which is harmful and possibly cancer causing. Fish is being made to appear fresh with formalin.
While there are laws and agencies which regulate food safety, they don’t seem to have kept pace with the fraudsters. Unfortunately, in India, there is very little activity at the ground level to detect or monitor adulterated foods. And when was the last time you heard anybody being prosecuted for adulterating food?
Now, let us ask ourselves the question…why do people adulterate foods? I believe most of them know that the adulterants would cause health hazards to the consumers. What would motivate them to still go ahead? LOVE OF MONEY. Apostle Paul had taught and warned Timothy that “love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” 1Tim 6:10.
In the last days, men will be “…lovers of money…” 2 Tim 3:2.We are witnessing the extreme love of money that has dominated the desires, thinking, choices and conversations of the people around us. And we are not immune to that!
Proverbs 20:23 says, God is a person to whom differing weights is an abomination (extreme disgust or hatred). And what are differing weights used for? For unjust gain - adulteration of food is also an attempt to have unjust gain. I believe that adulterating things is an abomination to God. Let no one who fears the Lord commit this abomination
As Christians, what should we do against this menace? Firstly, let us by all means do our bit in our fight against adulteration. Secondly, as consumers, let us be vigilant and wise regarding use of foodstuff, so that we are not harmed in our bodies. Last, but not the least, let us not adulterate food stuff in any way….not even adding water to milk! Let us walk the talk.
It is indeed sad that human beings made in the image of God, would go to such lengths to adulterate food stuff, primarily for gaining unjustly-even at the cost of endangering the health of fellow human beings-whom we should have loved as our neighbour! But then ,this is a reminder that we are living in a fallen world. LET HIS KINGDOM COME.LET HIS WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.