Dushyant Krishnan is a lawyer with a keen interest in food safety and food law. He set up http://foodnetindia.in/, India’s first online destination for food safety, security and food law. foodnetindia’s mission is to educate Indians about food safety. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some time ago, I had written an article about pesticides, and the potential damage to health that some of them can cause. After some more reading, I've come across a few that I felt I should deal with...
When I think of supplements, the first picture in my head is a huge bodybuilder. Then I remember that there are so many different types of supplements in the market these days. There are supplements t...
4-Methylimidazole. Ever heard of it? My money is on no. Neither had I until my foodnetindia adventure began. 4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI or 4-MEL) is a chemical present in caramel colour. According to th...
The newly elected government in Kerala recently proposed what is popularly known as a "fat tax". The government placed a 14.5% tax on branded fast food outlets such as McDonald's and KFC. The aim, acc...
Street food in India is tasty and cheap, and consequently, wildly popular. It has the potential to affect the health of tens of millions of people. For this reason alone, we need to do something to improve its safety and quality. And this goal is not so difficult to achieve.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Many of us wake up every morning looking forward to a bowl of cornflakes or some other cereal. That's because we have been told that cereals are a healthy breakfast, and a great way to start the day. But is that bowl of cereal (usually eaten with milk and sugar) really the best way to kick-start your day? I'm not too sure about that.
The Indian government has finally recognized the potential hazards of potassium bromate, and is in the process of banning its use as a food additive. But despite this, the FSSAI recently proposed to permit limited amounts of bromates in packaged drinking water.
Every single mother has told her kids not to eat too many sweets and chocolates because sugar is bad for them. They're right of course. There is a huge amount of research linking excess sugar intake to various lifestyle diseases. But what about the sugar that people don't know they're consuming? It comes hidden in everything from noodles to bread to cornflakes.
Every kid has heard his or her mom order them to eat their vegetables (as a vegetarian, it was either that or nothing for me!). Even in school, we were taught that vegetables are an important source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Of course, all of this is true, but what else are we eating ALONG with the veggies?
I was obese for most my school days, and I hated it. There were so many things I just couldn't do, and not all of it was related to physical activity. I developed self-confidence issues as well. Being an overweight kid is a horrible experience. It's all up to you, parents! Don't let your kids go through it as I did!
Let's face it, water almost everywhere in India is not safe to drink without purifying it, either by boiling or by using a water purifier. Nor does recycled water appear to be safe for irrigation. After nearly 70 years of independence, we still can't be sure about the safety of water coming out of our taps, or the safety of the water we use for our crops. This is absolutely unacceptable.
My mom leaves for work at 6am every morning, which means I make my own breakfast (three fried eggs with sautéed vegetables, and a protein shake). I fry my eggs in butter. I know most people would call me crazy, and tell me that I will get fat (I'm still the skinniest guy around!), but trust me, it's safer than vanaspati ghee (partially hydrogenated vegetable oil), and many other commercially available vegetable oils.
Everybody in India has seen the ubiquitous meat shops with carcasses of goats hanging in the open, the butcher cutting off pieces for customers, and flies swarming all over. I know a lot of people buy meat or chicken from these shops because it is generally cheaper and people think it is 'fresh'. However, usually, it isn't 'fresh' and most people in India are buying and cooking pathogen-infested, rotten meat.
Have you ever walked into a mithai shop and just stared at all the brightly coloured sweets? Or tucked into Indian Chinese street food with the eye-popping orange and red sauces? However, there's a pretty grim reality behind the appetizing colours that used to make kids like me stand and salivate.
When I was growing up, my mom used to make me drink a glass of milk every morning. Millions of mothers all over the country follow this practice, and with good reason. Milk is, after all, considered to be a super-food. The problem is that a large amount of the milk in India is adulterated with substances from water to urea and detergent. While some adulterants just reduce the nutritional value, others can do some serious damage to people's health.
College hostel, the night before an exam. Everyone has a book in one hand, and either coffee or some sort of energy drink in the other. The later it gets, the greater the number of guys with the latter. It started with Red Bull, but now there are too many different brands to keep track of. One thing is certain, though, they all contain large amounts of caffeine and sugar, and new research links energy drinks to, among other things, seizures, diabetes and cardiac abnormalities.
Every second person I meet is health and weight conscious these days. And don't get me wrong, that's a good thing! Many brag about the "healthy choices" they make by choosing only diet colas and drinking tea and coffee with sweeteners such as Sugar-Free instead of sugar. Healthy choice? Not on your life!