Adulteration In Food Items Essay About Myself


In the last few years, the consumption of dietary supplements, in particular those labeled as being plant food supplements (PFS), has been increasing worldwide. Since ancient times, botanicals and botanical preparations have been used for health purposes, either for nutritional objectives to maintain well-being and prevent ailments or as medicines used to cure a disease or relieve its symptoms (Eussen and others 2011). The use of plants is mainly related to their composition in different compounds that are known to have physiological effects in humans, including major nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and other biologically active substances (Silano and others 2011). Besides being used as food and in traditional medicine, more recently, botanicals and preparations thereof have also found several other applications including cosmetics, homeopathic products, biocides, extraction of compounds for the pharmaceutical industry, and as ingredients in dietary supplements (Garcia-Alvarez and others 2014). In particular, during the last few years botanicals have become increasingly available on worldwide markets in the form of PFS, which are legally considered as foods, both in the European Union (EU) and the United States under Directive 2002/46/EC and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), respectively, thus not requiring any safety assessment prior to their commercialization. Because the formulation of PFS includes plants or plant extracts, they are often advertised as being “natural” with many consumers perceiving these products as being “healthier” and safer compared to conventional pharmaceutical preparations. However, besides the risks inherent to the consumption of botanicals, such as possible side effects and interaction of biologically active phytochemicals with prescription drugs, in the last few years different studies have been reporting cases of PFS adulteration with different synthetic drugs (pharmaceuticals or their analogs). This type of adulteration is a major food safety and public health concern considering both the massive growing consumption of PFS and the fact that consumers are not aware of the risks associated with the possibility of pharmaceutical drugs being illegally added. Therefore, several works have been performed in the last decade reporting the development and application of new and advanced techniques for the detection of adulterants in dietary supplements, with special focus on PFS. This review intends to provide an overview on recent information regarding this subject, comprised of data on the most frequently reported adulterants in PFS and the currently available analytical techniques used for the detection and identification of synthetic drugs illegally added to these products. General information about legislation and consumption of dietary supplements (including PFS) is also presented. Since PFS are frequently categorized according to their advertised purpose, this review will focus on the ones used for weight loss, muscle building/sport performance, and sexual performance enhancement purposes, as they represent the majority of consumed PFS, thus the most prone to be adulterated.

Regulation, Consumption, and Adulteration of Dietary Supplements

Regulation on dietary supplements (including PFS)

In the EU, food supplements (which includes PFS) are regulated by the Directive 2002/46/EC which defines these products as being “… foodstuffs the purpose of which is to supplement the normal diet and which are concentrated sources of nutrients or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect, alone or in combination, marketed in dose form, namely forms such as capsules, pastilles, tablets, pills and other similar forms, sachets of powder, ampoules of liquids, drop dispensing bottles and other similar forms of liquids and powders designed to be taken in measured small quantities.’’ This Directive also specifies “nutrients” as being vitamins and minerals and establishes the maximum and minimum levels for the allowed compounds, yet it does not mention what can, or cannot, be accepted as being “other substances with nutritional or physiological effect.” Thus, several different substances are generally accepted as being included in this definition such as amino acids, enzymes, pre- and probiotics, essential fatty acids, and botanicals or botanical extracts, with their use frequently depending on national legislation (Silano and others 2011). The lack of specification and harmonization among the different EU countries regarding the usage of botanicals or botanical extracts in dietary supplements results in discrepancies among states with the inclusion of some botanicals in PFS being allowed in some countries and prohibited or nonregulated in others. Additionally, based on the current legislation in EU, botanicals and extracts thereof can be used either in PFS or as traditional herbal medicines (regulated by the Directive for traditional medicinal products (Directive 2004/24/EC)), with the distinction between both being somehow blurred, as the borderline between food and medicinal uses is often established based on national habits and interpretation of definitions in legal provisions (Silano and others 2011). Being considered as foods in the EU, PFS are subjected to the dispositions of the General Food Law (Regulation (EC) 178/2002), with the responsibilities for food safety issues mainly relying on food business operators. This also implies that PFS must comply with other food legislation such as hygiene regulations (Regulation (EC) 852/2004), maximum level of contaminants (Regulation (EC) 1881/2006), and novel foods regulation (Regulation (EC) 258/97) among others. Despite the wide range of regulations, food safety problems may arise in different member states, leading the EU to operate a rapid alert system for food and feed (RASFF). The RASFF provides the supervisory authorities with a quick and efficient mechanism for exchanging knowledge on the notifications issued by the different EU member states every time a food presents a serious risk to public health due to contamination, adulteration, or lack of framing in the above-mentioned laws. With this information, the member states are able to take immediate action, warning consumers, and causing products withdrawal from the market (Petroczi and others 2011). The RASFF database can be searched by food type and product category in which “Dietetic foods, food supplements, fortified foods” is included.

In the United States, both finished dietary supplements (including PFS) and their ingredients are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, they are covered by a regulatory framework signed into law in 1994, the “Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994” (DSHEA), which recognizes dietary supplements as a separate category of foods and establishes its own requirements for safety and labeling, thus limiting FDA's ability to regulate supplements. The DSHEA states that a dietary supplement is a product (other than tobacco) intended to supplement a diet, as long as it bears or contains 1 or more of the following dietary ingredients: vitamins; minerals; herbs or other botanicals; amino acids; dietary substances used by man to supplement a diet by increasing the total dietary intake; concentrates, metabolites, constituents, extracts, or a combination of the ingredients referred to above, and is intended to be taken by mouth as a pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid (USA 1994). Furthermore, according to DSHEA, this type of product is not represented for use as a conventional food or as a sole item of a meal or the diet and should be labelled as a dietary supplement (USA 1994). Additionally, under this framework, a company is responsible for determining that the dietary supplements it manufactures or distributes are safe and that any claims made are substantiated by adequate evidence (Silano and others 2011). In the U.S., similar to what happens in the EU, dietary supplements do not require any approval from FDA before being introduced in the market. Manufacturers do not have to provide evidence for the safety and effectiveness of the products, but they are prohibited to market unsafe or ineffective products (Rapaka and Coates 2006). Nevertheless, if a dietary supplement includes in its formulation any ingredients marketed after 1994, which are considered as “new ingredients,” the manufacturer must first notify FDA and provide information regarding reasonable evidence that it is safe for human use (Rapaka and Coates 2006). According to Wheatley and Spink (2013), DSHEA significantly weakened FDA's authority over dietary supplements and created opportunities for consumer deception, in particular in what concerns imported supplements. The recent review of Silano and others (2011) can be consulted for more detailed information regarding regulations applicable to PFS, including in other countries not mentioned in this paper, and the review by Wheatley and Spink (2013) for more information regarding dietary supplements in the United States.

Consumption of dietary supplements (with particular emphasis on PFS)

Over the last decade, it is undeniable the existence of notorious growth in the consumption of dietary supplements. Among these, PFS consumption showed a strong increase, with its highest consumption records occurring in the U.S. and EU (Egan and others 2011). The increased acceptance of these types of product by different consumer groups has been associated with a variety of factors including (1) a rising mistrust in conventional medicine and pharmaceutical drugs together with a higher demand and interest for alternative therapies, (2) the perception that “natural” is “healthy” and that plant products are safe, (3) a rising tendency for self-medication aiming for increased control over one's own health and decisions that may affect it (Ritchie 2007; Egan and others 2011; Vargas-Murga and others 2011).

Dietary supplements are used by the population in general for a variety of purposes, including for balancing the diet, to compensate for the lack of nutrients or exercise or unhealthy lifestyle, health maintenance, to prevent chronic diseases, improve appearance, improve wellness including mental conditions, for sexual performance enhancement and sports performance enhancement, among others (Egan and others 2011; Petroczi and others 2011). Different studies regarding the consumption of dietary supplements have been carried out, most of them focusing on specific population groups such as children, pregnant women, the elderly, individuals with chronic diseases, cancer patients, and athletes (Petroczi and others 2011; Vargas-Murga and others 2011). However, most information on the prevalence of the use of dietary supplements in general, and the intake of PFS in particular, come from the U.S. with data being obtained as part of large surveys, such as the Natl. Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), the Health and Diet Surveys, and the Natl. Health Interview Surveys (NHIS) (Egan and others 2011; Garcia-Alvarez and others 2014). Based on data from NHANES (2003 to 2004 and 2005 to 2006), it was estimated that approximately 49% of the U.S. population used dietary supplements, with 14% reporting the use of PFS, while in NHIS 2007, almost 18% of the surveyed adults reported the use of PFS. In 2002, a prevalence study regarding the usage of nonvitamin nonmineral supplements among 1000 students from a U.S. university with average age of 26-y-old, showed that more than 26% used that kind of supplements with ginseng, echinacea, protein/amino acids, and gingko biloba being the most frequently reported (Perkin and others 2002). In the EU, as part of the FP7 project PlantLIBRA, a retrospective survey concerning the type and frequency of PFS consumption among 6 EU countries (Finland, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom) was recently reported (Garcia-Alvarez and others 2014). The study, which included a total of 2359 participants, showed that almost 19% used at least 1 PFS, with higher values being observed in Italy (22.7%) and lower ones in Finland (9.6%), and that PFS including ginkgo biloba, evening primrose, and artichoke, in the form of capsules or tablets, were the most frequently used.

Although the factors leading to PFS consumption may vary according to demographic and health factors, among others, the information available in the literature regarding the characteristics of PFS consumers seem to show that, in general, higher consumption is found for women, older adults, individuals generally having a higher education and socioeconomic level, being more likely to self-report their health status as being “good,” being physically active while being less likely to smoke (Schaffer and others 2003; Radimer and others 2004; Nielsen and others 2005; Egan and others 2011; Garcia-Alvarez and others 2014). A high intake of dietary supplements (including PFS) is also reported to take place among athletes in order to improve their training performance (Petroczi and others 2008, 2011; Kiertscher and DiMarco 2013).

Adulteration in dietary supplements

With an increasing consumption of dietary supplements, safety in production and marketing, namely in what concerns the quality and levels of physiologically active ingredients in these products as well as labeling compliance, is a general concern for the different stakeholders worldwide including consumers, health professionals, and regulators (Sullivan and Crowley 2006). In particular, different safety issues have emerged regarding PFS, which are considered derivatives from plants and therefore are frequently labelled as "natural" products, thereby transmitting a false sense of security to the consumer since much toxicity is embedded in nature (Liang and others 2006; Di Lorenzo and others 2014). Among such issues, adulteration of PFS, including either the addition of illegal substances or the intentional swap or misidentification of plant material, is a major concern. Considering the economic value associated with the global trade of dietary supplements (in the United States, it is estimated that consumers spend over $20 billion each year on these products), they are very prone to be adulterated for economic reasons and profit increases (Wheatley and Spink 2013). One of such adulterations encompasses the illegal addition of synthetic drugs since unscrupulous producers can augment dietary supplements to provide for quicker effects. In fact, for some products as, for example, weight-loss dietary supplements, consumers tend to quit using those products if they don't realize any initial effects. On the contrary, if the supplement quickly succeeds in providing the desired results, more units are likely to be sold, thus increasing the seller's profit.

Several studies performed over the last decade have been showing intentional adulteration of dietary supplements by the addition of pharmaceutical drugs, especially in the case of PFS as they have a more complex matrix, thus making adulterant detection more difficult to accomplish. Pharmaceutical adulterants include appetite suppressors, stimulants, antidepressants, anxiolytics, diuretics, and laxatives in weight-loss PFS, phosphodiesterase type-5 enzyme (PDE-5) inhibitors in sexual performance enhancement, and anabolic steroids and prohormones in supplements used for muscle building/sports performance enhancement. An additional problem concerns the use of analogs of those substances, for which no pharmacological studies are available, and also the use of counterfeit drugs of doubtful quality.

As referred to in the previous sections, being legally considered as foods in several countries, dietary supplements (including PFS) do not require any kind of permission to be placed on the market, but the legal responsibility for their safety lies with the business operators. Consequently, in the EU several phytoformulations are being sold under the guise of PFS allowing them to circumvent the requirements and official registration procedure needed if they were considered as being traditional medicinal products. Additionally, nowadays PFS are widespread in the global market, being easily accessible to consumers in supermarkets, drugstores, natural health/food stores, herbal shops, and gyms possible to be purchased through television sales and online by using the Internet. In the last decade, the spread of dietary supplements coming from the black market has also suffered a significant increase (Geyer and others 2008; Petroczi and others 2011; Gilard and others 2015; Odoardi and others 2015).

In the U.S., under the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act, signed into law in December 2006, the manufacturer, packer, or distributor of a dietary supplement, whose name appears on the label of a dietary supplement marketed in the U.S., must report to FDA, within 15 d, any serious adverse events (events that result in death, a life-threatening experience, hospitalization, a persistent or significant disability or incapacity, a congenital anomaly or birth defect, or requires, based on a reasonable medical judgment, a medical or surgical intervention to prevent any of the referred outcomes) that are reported to them by consumers or health care professionals (FDA 2105c). If the adverse events are not considered serious in accordance with the 2006 act, the firm can still complete and submit a voluntary adverse events report (AER) form at its discretion. FDA reviews all AERs in a postmarket surveillance effort to track safety issues that require intervention, however an AER by itself does not demonstrate a causal relationship between the dietary supplement and the reported health problem (GAO 2013). Consumers and health professionals are strongly encouraged to voluntary report adverse effects to FDA since dietary supplements adulterated with active pharmaceutical drugs or their analogs can become apparent through AER surveillance, thus assisting FDA in identifying potential safety concerns.

Despite the potentially serious health risks, very little is known about the prevalence or common adverse effects of dietary supplements adulterated by the illegal addition of pharmaceuticals. A 2007 retrospective study concerning patients who were referred to the Hospital Authority Toxicology Reference Laboratory of Hong Kong from 2004 to 2006, described a positive result for the presence of pharmaceutical drugs or their analogs (either on urine samples, on the consumed dietary supplement, or in both) for 28 individuals from a total of 42 patients suspected to have clinical problems related to the use of weight-loss products (Yuen and others 2007). The authors also described the identification of sibutramine, fenfluramine and a fenfluramine analog in 3 slimming products, and the hospitalization of 4 patients after taking those products (Yuen and others 2007). More recently, Cohen and others (2012) assessed the prevalence of use and associated side effects of Pai You Guo, a weight-loss dietary supplement manufactured in China that was found to be adulterated, by performing a cross-sectional study using an anonymous questionnaire distributed among Brazilian women living in a U.S. community. From the 565 valid surveys, 130 respondents confirmed using this supplement, corresponding to an overall prevalence of Pai You Guo use of 23% (Cohen and others 2012). The vast majority of women using this supplement (85%) reported experiencing at least 1 side effect during use, the most frequent being dry mouth (59%), anxiety (29%) and insomnia (26%) (Cohen and others 2012). Even though the authors did not analyzed any sample of the PFS used by those women, the FDA has previously found sibutramine in Pai You Guo. As a consequence, in late 2009, the FDA take multiple steps including a safety alert to consumers and a recall of the product due to serious safety concerns. Despite this, in the study of Cohen and others (2014) 61% of users purchased the dietary supplement after the FDA recall and none of the respondents were aware of the FDA alert. Subsequently, to investigate if supplements still on sale after FDA recalls are free of adulterants, Cohen and others (2014) evaluated the presence of banned drugs in 27 dietary supplements purchased at least 6 mo after being recalled. The authors found that 18 of those recalled dietary supplements still available for purchase remained adulterated, with 12 products containing the same adulterant previously identified by the FDA and 6 products containing a different analog, or the same compound previously identified added with a new adulterant.

For the mentioned reasons, there has been a recent major interest in the development of analytical techniques aimed at an accurate, quick, and effective screening of illegal substances in dietary supplements, with special focus on PFS, in order to provide adequate tools for regulatory agencies to control the existence of fraud by detecting tainted PFS. In the following sections, information regarding the substances most frequently used to adulterate different PFS are presented from published studies focusing on the evaluation of PFS samples, as well as the techniques used to detect those substances.

PFS Often Adulterated

Weight-loss supplements

Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for several chronic diseases and have been recognized by the World Health Organization as an increasing public health issue affecting millions of individuals, especially in Western developed countries. Additionally, for health reasons today's society strongly promotes having a normal weight and a slim figure. The loss of weight or the maintenance of an ideal weight are both commonly associated with diet and exercise, often requiring significant changes in eating behavior and lifestyle (Wing and Phelan 2005). In the search for alternatives to a quicker weight loss and to simultaneously avoid lifestyle changes, people are increasingly resorting to the so-called "quick-fix" slimming agents (Tang and others 2011). As a result, several PFS are currently being sold with alleged weight-loss promise. Since these products have plants or plant extracts in their composition, they are often advertised as containing “purely natural ingredients,” which is generally perceived by many consumers as having no risks and being safer products than pharmaceutical drugs. However, they can cause adverse reactions or interfere with conventional pharmaceutical therapies, even though both cases are considered as uncommon by sellers (Di Lorenzo and others 2014). More importantly, recent studies have shown that weight-loss PFS are frequently found to be adulterated by the illicit addition of synthetic drugs (Table 1). Since the sale of PFS advertised for weight loss has become a very lucrative business, manufacturers can be tempted to increase profits by doping PFS with drugs in order to achieve quicker effects and to advertise the effectiveness of their products (Chen and others 2009; Tang and others 2011; Deconinck and others 2012a). The drugs most generally associated with weight-loss PFS adulteration include anorexics (such as sibutramin, orlistat, diethylpropion (amfepramone), rimonabant, fenproporex, phentermine, and mazindol, and so on) but also stimulants (ephedrine, norephedrine, and synephrine), anxiolytics (mainly benzodiazepines such as diazepam), antidepressants (fluoxetine, sertraline), diuretics (such as furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide), and laxatives (including phenolphthalein). Several of these drugs are considered by regulatory agencies as being controlled substances or prescription drugs and others were banned/removed because of their adverse effects in humans (De Carvalho and others 2011). Of these substances/adulterants, the most frequently used are anorexics derived from amphetamines (De Carvalho and others 2011), with sibutramine being the most commonly detected in PFS. Sibutramine is considered an anorexic structurally related to amphetamines; it acts as a neurotransmitter reuptake inhibitor, reducing the reuptake of serotonine, norepinephrine, and noradrenalin, resulting in higher concentrations of these compounds at the synaptic clefts, thus leading to a reduction in appetite (Deconinck and others 2014). This compound was approved by FDA in 1997 and was legally prescribed and sold for the treatment of obesity until 2010 when Abbott Laboratories (Ill., U.S.A.) voluntarily withdrew sibutramine from the market due to the high risk of heart attacks and strokes, especially in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease (Csupor and others 2013). In the same year, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a statement for the removal of sibutramine from the European market considering that the drug's benefits did not justify the potential risk of heart attacks (EMA 2010). Even though sibutramine has been banished from the EU and U.S. markets, both scientific studies and regulatory agency controls show that this drug continues to be fraudulently added to PFS. According to the FDA list of tainted dietary supplements, from a total of 416 public alerts launched between 2010 and 2015, 37% corresponded to adulterated weight-loss products, from which most cases (87%) involved the illegal addition of sibutramine (FDA 2015a). In the same period, the EU rapid communication system on food and feed (RASFF) notified that 64 weight-loss dietary supplements imported from different countries (mainly China and the United States, but also from Thailand, the Philippines, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Kosovo, and Australia) were contaminated with sibutramine (RASFF 2015). This drug was also reported as the most frequently used anorexic in a 2009 study (before it was withdrawn) after the evaluation of 105 PFS, from which 35 samples were shown to contain adulterant slimming agents (Chen and others 2009). Since the illegal addition of sibutramine is known to be recurrent in dietary supplements, this drug is generally included in the set of substances screened as adulterants in weight-loss PFS (Table 1).

SibutramineCapsulesSample suspended in 1 mL methanol (for GC-MS) or 1 mL mobile phase (for HPLC), centrifuged and analyzed (after dilution 1:50 v/v, for GC analysis)HPLC-DAD; GC-MS1/1Jung and others (2006)
Anorexics (sibutramine, N-di-desmethylsibutramine, N-mono-desmethylsibutramine, fenfluramine), antiobesity drug (orlistat), laxative (phenolphthalein)Capsules, teabagsSample extracted with 20 mL methanol for 10 min, centrifuged, supernatant diluted with methanol and solution filtered (0.45-mm nylon membrane)LC-ESI-MS11/22Wang and others (2008)
Untargeted screening of adulterantsCapsules, tablets, powderSample dissolved in 5 mL of CD3CN:D2O (80:20 v/v), stirred 10 min, sonicated 10 min, centrifuged and the supernatant (550 mL) analyzed.DOSY 1H-NMR; MS/MS14/20aVaysse and others (2010)
Anorexics (sibutramine, fenfluramine), stimulants (ephedrine, norpseudoephedrine), diuretic (clopamide) and others (natural laxatives rhein, emodin, chrysophanol)Tea powder, capsules, tabletsSample (0.1 g) extracted with 8 mL 70% methanol aqueous solution (v/v), sonicated for 30 min at room temperature and filled to volume (10 mL); 1 mL of extracted solution was centrifuged and 10 μL supernatant solution analyzed.HPLC-ESI-MS/MS12/12Shi and others (2011)
34 Compounds including anorexics (amfepramone, phentermine, rimonabant, 2,4-dinitrophenol, fenfluramine, sibutramine), stimulants (amphetamine, caffeine, synephrine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine), laxative (phenolphthalein), diuretics (althiazide, bumetanide, furosemide, spironolactone, triamterene) and antidepressant (fluoxetine)Capsules, tablets, powdersSample was dispersed in mobile phase (acetonitrile /phosphate 50 mM buffer solution, 5/95 v/v), stirred, sonicated, centrifuged, clear supernatant was filtered through a 0.45-mm pore size GHP membrane filter and suitably diluted before analysis.UHPLC-DAD20/20Rebiere and others (2012)
Anorexics (amfepramone, sibutramine, fenproporex) and antidepressants (fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, bupropion)Not referredSample dissolved in 25 mL of methanol, filtered using 1st cotton and then cellulose acetate membranes (0.45 mm) and 1 mL analyzed.Capillary Electrophoresis4/106De Carvalho and others (2012)
N-desmethylsibutramineNot referredPulverized samples (200 mg) dissolved in 2.0 mL of methanol, sonicated 30 min, methanolic extracts evaporated to dryness and dissolved in methanolLC-PDA; LC/MS1/27Park and others (2012)
Anorexics (sibutramine, N-desmethylsibutramine, N-didesmethylsibutramine), laxative (phenolphthalein)Capsules, tabletsSample extracted with 20 mL acetonitrile, sonicated, centrifuged, supernatant diluted 2000- or 5000-fold with acetonitrile and filtered (0.2 μm PTFE filter)FI-MS/MS (confirmation using LC-MS/MS)11/17Song and others (2014)
29 Drugs including anorexics (sibutramine, desmethylsibutramine, didesmethylsibutramine, diethylpropion, fenfluramine, mazindol, phentermine), stimulants (caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, phendimetrazine), antidepressants (bupropion, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline), laxatives (bisacodyl, phenolphthalein, sennosides)Capsules, powder, tablet, granule and liquidSample (1 g) diluted with 50 mL methanol, sonicated 30 min and filtered (0.22 μm Millipore membrane)LC–MS/MS62/188Kim and others (2014)
Anorectic drug (lorcaserin)CapsulesSample (100 mg) dissolved in 1 mL CD3CN:D2O (80:20 v/v), vortexed 1 min, sonicated 5 min, centrifuged and supernatant analyzedNMR; MS/MS1/1Hachem and others (2014)
Anorexics (sibutramine, desmethylsibutramine, didesmethylsibutramine, rimonabant) and laxative (phenolphthalein)Capsules, tablets, powder sachetsSample sonicated with methanol, diluted 100 times using methanol/0.1% formic acid (buffered at pH 4) and filtered (0.45 μm filter)HPLC-DAD-MS/MS24/50Reeuwijk and others (2014)
SibutraminePowder and encapsulated liquidsSample (200 mg) suspended in 10 mL methanol, vortexed 30 s, sonicated 10 min, centrifuged, supernatant collected and directly deposited onto HPTLC platesHPTLC-UV densitometry; TLC–MS interface28/52Mathon and others (2014)
96 compounds including anorexics (fenfluramine, phentermine, rimonabant, sibutramine, topiramate), stimulants (amphetamine, β-methylphenethylamine, 1,3-dimethylamylamine, evodiamine, norephedrine, methamphetamine, cathine, ephedrine), antiobesity drug (orlistat), antidepressants (fluoxetine, sertraline), anxiolytic (diazepam), diuretics (hydroflumethiazide, bumetanide, chlorthalidone, hydrochlorothiazide, indapamide, methyclothiazide, metolazone)Tablets, capsules, softgels and liquidsSamples (1.00 g added with 10 mL deionized water containing 2% formic acid for tablets, capsules and previously defatted softgels and 10 mL for liquids) were added, with 10 mL acetonitrile (tablets, capsules, and softgels) or acetonitrile containing 2% formic acid (liquids), shaken 30 min using a Glas-Col digital pulse mixer, 4 g anhydrous MgSO4 and 1 g NaCl were added, tubes were vigorously shaken for 1 min, centrifuged, and the acetonitrile extract was filteredUHPLC–Q-orbitrap MS3/23Vaclavik and others (2014a)
Anorexics (benfluorex, phentermine, phenmetrazine, phendimetrazine, fenfluramine, fencanfamine, mephentermine, sibutramine), stimulants (ephedrines, caffeine)Powder, oily capsules and tabletsSample (100 mg) added with internal standard, extracted with 5 mL methanol, vortexed 20 s, centrifuged, methanolic phase evaporated to dryness and reconstituted in 2 mL sodium hydroxide solution 1 M. Solution extracted with 5 mL pentane/ethyl ether (9:1) under agitation for 1 h, centrifuged, organic phase evaporated to dryness and reconstituted with 100 μL methanol/water/formic acid (6:4:0.03)LC/HRMS3/36Strano-Rossi and others (2015)

Other amphetamine derived anorexics known to induce appetite loss but also having several side effects, such as fenproporex and amfepramone, have also been described as adulterants in slimming phytopharmaceutical products (De Carvalho and others 2011). As of 2010, several RASFF notifications were also made for products containing stimulants such as the alkaloids ephedrine (3 notifications) and synephrine (26 notifications). Among other compounds used to adulterate is phenolphthalein, a drug used as laxative and banned due to carcinogenicity concerns: it is frequently listed in public notifications from the FDA and RASFF. Since 2010 and considering a total of 155 weight-loss products listed by FDA as being adulterated, 9 products were shown to contain phenolphthalein and 48 products to contain this compound in combination with other drugs, such as sibutramine. In the same period, a total of 19 incidents were reported in RASFF for the detection of phenolphthalein in dietetic foods, food supplements, and fortified foods. Recently, the FDA also reported the presence of the antidepressant fluoxetine in dietary supplements. Anxiolytics, such as the 2 benzodiazepines diazepam and flurazepam, are also described as being associated with weight-loss PFS since they help to reduce anxiety, which is common in obese patients, while simultaneously covering the stimulating effects caused by added anorexics (De Carvalho and others 2011).

Body-building and athletic performance enhancement supplements

Dietary supplements are used by a large percentage of general consumers. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that an even larger usage rate occurs among athletes, although consumption prevalence varies with the type of sport, gender, and level of competition (Maughan and others 2011). Most athletes are very scrupulous with their body image and often choose to maintain certain restrictive diets, avoiding some foods in order to achieve a desired physical constitution, which is considered by some athletes as an important factor for their performance improvement. Such diets are often very strict and sometimes unbalanced, therefore leading to a nutritional failure of essential vitamins and minerals that can endanger both performance and health. To fulfill their nutritional needs, athletes may use a dietary supplement in order to diminish micronutrient deficits. However, regardless of their nutritional status, some athletes believe that taking supplements improves body appearance and physical performance, thus resorting to dietary supplements even if they are not needed (Kiertscher and DiMarco 2013).

Besides competitive sports, where the use of dietary supplements is considered to be widespread, these products are also commonly used by recreational gym users and amateur athletes (Goston and Correia 2010). Among dietary supplements, vitamin and mineral supplements are possibly the most consumed ones as they are generally perceived as being safe/harmless, though many PFS are also used. In particular, the so-called “fat-burning” and weight-loss products are considered to be PFS that are extremely popular among athletes (Maughan and others 2011).

Recent studies have shown that a wide range of substances can be present in dietary supplements advertised for body building and athletic performance enhancement, such as anabolic agents, stimulants, and anorexics, these often found in PFS (Maughan and others 2011). The 1st cases concerning the presence of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS, also known as prohormones) in dietary supplements were reported in 1999 (Geyer and others 2008). In subsequent years, different studies were performed, including the analysis of a large number of dietary supplements acquired in the U.S. and several European countries, clearly demonstrating that some products contained hormones or prohormones that were not declared on the label (Maughan 2005). However, most of these substances were found at very low levels and in varying concentrations for the same product, thus suggesting a cross-contamination instead of fraudulent admixtures. Nevertheless, it was demonstrated that the consumption of such supplements taken in the recommended doses could result in positive antidoping controls tests. This entails a major risk for high-level competition athletes since the strict liability principle applied by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) does not distinguish between deliberate and inadvertent doping due to food supplements consumption, with all kinds of responsibility lying with the athlete taking the supplement (WADA 2015). In other cases, high amounts of WADA-prohibited substances, such as methandienone, have also been detected, sometimes in amounts considerably higher than the normal therapeutic doses, and these could jeopardize an athlete's health (Maughan and others 2011).

A wide range of stimulants, steroids, and other agents currently included on WADA's prohibited list have been identified as adulterants in dietary supplements. According to WADA, these substances are described as being performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), which are defined as being any pharmacological substance listed in the World Anti-Doping Code, or that has not been approved by a governmental regulatory health authority for human therapeutic use. Adulteration of dietary supplements with PEDs has been reported by several authors (Pipe and Ayotte 2002; Geyer and others 2004; Maughan 2005; van der Merwe and Grobbelaar 2005), and this can lead to a positive antidoping test. Besides substances with no current approval for human therapeutic use by any governmental regulatory health authority (generally considered as “designer” drugs), WADA's prohibited list includes an enormous diversity of chemicals, namely anabolic agents (AAS, clenbuterol, selective androgen receptor modulators, tibolone, zeranol, zilpaterol), peptide hormones, growth factors, and related substances (growth hormone, erythopoietin, chorionic gonadotropin), β-2 agonists, hormones, and metabolic modulators (aromatase inhibitors and selective estrogen receptor modulators), diuretics, and certain masking agents (such as acetazolamide, carmerone, indaparid, and plasma expanders). Moreover, many substances are included that are prohibited in-competition, namely stimulants (amfepramone, meferox, pseudoephedrine, sibutramine), narcotics (such as buprenorphine, dextromoramide, methadone, morphine, oxycodone), cannabinoids, and glucocorticosteroids (WADA 2014). Among the mentioned substances, the use of new/modified or “designer” steroids (such as prostanozol, methasterone, andostatrienedione, among others) is of higher concern because so little is known about their pharmacology and possible side effects (Geyer and others 2008).

When weighting the risks and advantages of using dietary supplements, in particular those purchased from “shody” sources such as Internet Web sites selling all kinds of “natural” products, athletes should consider the possibility that some of the above-mentioned substances can be found in dietary supplements, and in PFS in particular, most often to potentiate the "performance enhancing" effect advertised in the product. Those substances can cause secondary effects or drug interactions with pharmaceutical medicines or with the botanicals’ active substance and, in the case of competition athletes, usage may lead to their detection in antidoping tests.

Different studies recently available in the literature have shown the presence of anabolic steroids and designer drugs in dietary supplements, such as androstenedione, 5-androsten-3β-ol-17-one (dehydroepiandrosterone; DHEA), methandienone, testosterone esters, androst-4-ene-3β-17β-diol, boldenone, among others (Geyer and others 2008; Becue and others 2011; Aqai and others 2013; Odoardi and others 2015). Table 2 shows a compilation of studies reporting the presence of illegal substances in dietary supplements. Additionally, regulatory agencies have also reported the presence of adulterants in such products advertised for body building/athletic performance enhancement. In the last 5 y, from a total of 416 public notifications issued by FDA, 18 concerned the presence of steroids or aromatase inhibitors in muscle building products (FDA 2015a). Although corresponding only to 4.3% of the total notifications, it should be noticed that there is no information regarding the total number of samples analyzed by type of supplement (weight loss, sexual enhancement, or muscle building).

25 Anabolic steroidsSolid nutritional supplements: protein concentrate and creatine monohydrateSample extracted with ethyl acetate; crude extract is purified using dispersive solid-phase extraction (SPE) with primary secondary amine (PSA) as sorbentGC × GC-TOF MSStepan and others (2008)
49 Anabolic compoundsCapsules, tablets and liquids (some labelled as containing prohormones)Sample extracted twice with methanol, centrifuged, evaporated to dryness, redissolved methanol and 100-fold dilution in methanol/water (65/35, v/v)LC–MS/MS11/19Van Poucke and others (2007)
11 Anabolic androgenic steroidsCapsules, tablets, powders, fluidsSamples extracted with methanol, centrifuged, evaporated to dryness, sodium hydroxide solution 0.1 M and n-pentane added to the residue, shake and centrifuge; transfer n-pentane layer, add methanol/water solution (95:5, v/v); shake and centrifuge; discard n-pentane layer, add methanolic solution of 1-(N, N-diisopropylamine)-alkanes, evaporate to dryness and residue its derivatizatedGC-MS94/634Geyer and others (2008)
Unknown androgens and androgen derivativesNot referred (4 herbal mixtures and 4 sport supplements)Sample sonicated with methanol and sodium acetate buffer (0.25 M; pH 4.8), centrifuged and acetic acid (4.0 M) added to supernatant (reaching pH 4.8); SPE purification (1st on C18 cartridge followed by 2nd SPE on Isolute NH2 cartridge), eluate evaporated to drynessbioassay-guided fractionation combined with UHPLC/TOFMS5/8 (compounds were tentatively identified)Peters and others (2010)
88 SteroidsTablets, capsules or powderSample extracted with ethyl acetate/acetic acid (99.9:0.1, v/v), centrifuged, upper layer eluted through NH2 SPE, eluate evaporated to dryness, residue dissolved in mobile phase and centrifuged (Ultrafree®-MC centrifugal, 0.22 μm, Millipore)UPLC–MS6/8Becue and others (2011)
Androgenic and estrogenic (designer) steroidsNot referredSample extracted (ultrasonic bath and head-overhead mixing) with methanol and sodium acetate (12.5 mM, pH 4.8), centrifuged, supernatant diluted 5 times with HBS-EP bufferbioaffinity LC-MS screening coupled to chip-UPLC(NanoTile)-Q-ToF-MS8/22Aqai and others (2013)
35 Anabolic steroids and clembuterolPowders, capsules, energy bars and tabletsSample dissolved in methanol, evaporated to dryness, diluted in sodium hydroxide solution, extracted with pentane/ethyl ether 9:1LC-HRMS in APCI mode16/30 (some samples with multiple compounds)Odoardi and others (2015)

Sexual performance enhancement supplements

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a disease that affects 150 million men worldwide (Schramek and others 2014) being characterized by the inability to create or maintain penile erection during sexual activity. The treatments currently known for this problem encompasses the administration of PDE-5 inhibitors drugs. These compounds act by inhibiting the mentioned enzyme, which is responsible for the degradation of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) to guanosine monophosphate (GMP), thus causing a rise of cGMP levels resulting in smooth muscle relaxation of helicine arteries followed by an increase of blood, thus enhancing normal erectile function (Codevilla and others 2013). Presently, the PDE-5 inhibitors legally commercialized worldwide are sildenafil citrate (Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®), vardenafil hydrochloride (Levitra®), udenafil (Zydena®), mirodenafil (Mvix®), lodenafil carbonate (Helleva®), and avanafil (Stendra® in the United States or Spedra® in EU) (Patel and others 2014). However, in the United States and EU only sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, and avanafil are approved by the competent authorities (FDA and EMA, respectively) for the treatment of ED (EMA 2015; FDA 2015b). The side effects of prescription PDE-5 inhibitors and possible interactions with other drugs are well documented. These drugs can cause headaches, flushing, dyspepsia, nasal congestion, and visual disorders, and because they were shown to potentiate the hypotensive effects of nitrates and α-blockers, the concomitant use of PDE-5 inhibitors with such drugs should be avoided (Gur and others 2013). Moreover, since sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil are mainly metabolized by the cytochrome P450 3A4 pathway, drugs that inhibit this pathway may decrease metabolism of PDE-5 drugs and increase their plasma concentrations (Schwartz and others 2010).

During the last few years, the demand for PDE-5 inhibitors has been increasing worldwide, not only for treating patients with ED but also because they are sometimes being used by young men without ED to enhance sexual performance for recreational purposes, occasionally associated with the intake of alcohol or other drugs (Korkes and others 2008; Bechara and others 2010). Even though these substances are considered as controlled prescription drugs, for several reasons including the stigma associated with sexual dysfunction and/or personal lack of confidence to openly speak with the doctor, lack of information, drug costs, and availability from easily accessible, cheaper, and discrete sources such as Internet Web sites, the supply of these products without medical prescription through unofficial methods/parallel markets has been increasing during the last decade (Campbell and others 2013; Fejos and others 2014; Patel and others 2014). It is estimated that in Europe alone more than 6 million illegal products containing PDE-5 inhibitors are being purchased outside the official health system (Schnetzler and others 2010; Venhuis and de Kaste 2012) and that in the United States more than half a million of such uncontrolled tablets are being sold every month (Dorsey and Hellstrom 2007). Since these counterfeit products are not under any quality control program, there is an inherent risk of buying a poor-quality product, for example, having impurities, lacking sample homogeneity, or incorrect dosage. Besides the problematic use of counterfeit pharmaceutical products, several recent studies have shown the illegal presence of PDE-5 inhibitors and/or its analogs in PFS (Table 3). These types of supplements are increasingly popular since they are advertised as "natural products" for sexual performance enhancement leading to a false sense of security in consumers (Liang and others 2006; Singh and others 2009; Campbell and others 2013; Fejos and others 2014). Since the existence of demand leads to a rise in supply, a growing number of products have recently been advertised on the Internet and on television, usually marketed as a "natural" resolution for sexual problems (Liang and others 2006; Singh and others 2009; Petroczi and others 2011; Strano-Rossi and others 2015). However, to boost the performance of such products, unscrupulous producers can dope PFS with PDE-5 inhibitors (Table 3


Consumer is the largest economic group and central point of all marketing activities. With the rise in the income of people, the quality, the quantity and the sophistication of the consumer goods has also increased. The market is literally overflowing with the new products based on intricate technology. It is very difficult for the consumer to select one food item because of misleading advertisements, improper media emphasis and food adulteration. As a result of these malpractices, the ultimate victim is a consumer, who innocently takes adulterated foods and suffers.

Consumer behavior appears static in general which is in the need of its entire conversion to dynamic. The behavior process involves some or all of the following steps (Fig. 1).

A good buying behavior reflects philosophy about the nature of consumer and provides a logical means of organizing the vast quantity of information on variables that influence the buying practices. Buying practices involves the determination by market agencies of kind, qualities and quantities of goods desired by consumer. Buyer has to find out the desired qualities of goods sold at satisfactory prices. Buying consumes a great deal of time, energy and money. Effective buying requires a specialized knowledge of content of goods, their resources and their use.(Kotler, 1990) Consumers have no choice except to face a wider variety of buying situations than in the past, one result is that there has been and will continue to be an increase in the number of consumer problems and disputes particularly involving consumer rights and legal protection.

Fig. 1:

Model of Buying Behavior

To meet these challenges successfully Consumers must arm themselves against these problems since they are not automatically protected by the working of the market. Therefore, a consumer’s best defense is knowledge of his/her rights as a consumer and of the remedies which exist to resolve these problems when they occur. “Knowledge and awareness about adulterated foods, laws and its rights related to adulterated food is crucial in a society where technology heightens opportunities for perpetrators of fraud deception and misrepresentation” (Garman and Jonest, 1992).

Adulteration may be intentional or unintentional. The former is a willful act on the part of adulterator who intended to increase the margin of profit. On the other hand, adulteration may be incidental contamination, which is usually due to ignorance, negligence or lack of proper facilities.

Adulteration is defined as “the process by which the quality or the nature of a given substance is reduced through:

The addition of a foreign or an inferior substance e.g. addition of water to milk.

The removal of vital vitamins, e.g. removal of fat from milk". (Mudambi and Rajgopal, 1985)

The causes of adulteration may be:

Availability of too many products in the market

Poor buying practices of consumers.

Consumer mentality of bargaining,

Availability of adulterants.

It is true that, adulteration primarily thrives in a period of shortages. The consumer’s real income is falling due to rising prices of even essential commodities. Psychologically, consumers pay less attention to the quality of products during this period. He/she is facing disadvantages in the form of adulteration. Now a day, “Adulteration is health menace”.Thus, food adulteration takes many forms: mixing, substitution, abstraction, concealing the quality sale of decomposed foods and using false labels. The pity is that the so-called modernization has brought with it, the evils of adulteration.

Somehow, the Indian consumer has become accustomed to live with adulteration. Even educated consumers do not pay attention to the menace of adulteration. (Sundaram, 1985).

Many of the spices, ready to eat ground masalas and commonly used products are found contaminated/adulterated. The adulteration problem in India has attained massive dimensions.

Types of adulteration:

There are three types of adulteration namely:

Intentional adulterants: Intentional adulterants are sand, marble chips, stone, mud, chalk powder, water, mineral oil and coal tar dyes. This adulteration cause harmful effects on the body.
Metallic contamination: Metallic contaminations include arsenic from pesticides, lead from water, and mercury from effluents of chemical industries, tin from cans etc.
Incidental adulterants: Incidental adulterants are pesticide residues, tin from can droppings of rodents, larvae in foods. Metallic contamination with arsenic lead, mercury can also occur incidentally. Pests such as rodents and insects intrude into the food at high degree and produce filth in the form of excreta, bodily secretions and spoilage through micro organisms. The most common incidental adulterants are pesticides, D.D.T and marathon residues present on the plant product. The maximum permissible residue allowed for D.D.T, marathon is 3 ppm.

Chemical like D.D.T are absorbed by the small intestine when ingested. The toxins usually pile up in the fatty tissues of such vital organs as the thyroid, heart, kidney, liver, mammary gland and damage these organs. They can be transferred from the umbilical cord/ blood to the growing foetus and through breast milk in children, the disease apart from crippling them inhibits their growth (Table 1).

The studies conducted by Nimkar (1976); Pande (2000) reveals that homemakers were the actual buyers for the food in the family. Home makers took independent decision in all the areas of food buying except financial aspect. “Availability of money resource and availability of the product” in the market were the most important factors, whereas “food habit” and “nutritional requirements” were the least important factors while buying a product. On the other hand low income group home makers preferred rationing store, and independent store for the groceries and miscellaneous items. For the selection of stores low income group home maker gave more importance to credit facilities, lowest price and location of the store. Majority of the home makers from low income group collected all information from friends and neighbors. Among home makers retail shops were more used than wholesale shops for purchasing grains, monthly purchasing was most common among the employed and unemployed homemakers for grains and grocery.

Roday (2002) tested food samples examined at various Public Health Laboratories in the state of Maharashtra during the year 1993. He found that in small cities like Jalgoan, Nanded and Jalna the percentage of adulteration is very high compared to bigger cites viz. Nagpur, Pune, Amaravati, Solapur etc.

Subedi (2001) has recorded a marked rise in case of major food and beverages adulteration in Nepal. The published report summarized a substantial rise in adulteration of mustard and rapeseed oil with Argemone Mexicana.

According to lab test conducted by Food Technology and Quality Control Department, over 66 percent of the samples were found contaminated. Out of 149 mustard rapeseed samples, 98 of them were contaminated with Argemone Mexicana. Similarly, 44 percent of the black pulses were found adulterated with coal tar and inedible mix. Last year the adulterated figure was only 12.5%.

The report has also said that 40% of ghee in the market was contaminated with vegetable fat and high concentration of fatty acids, while 27% of vegetable ghee in the market was contaminated due to the use of low quality raw materials. Like wise 54.5% samples of papad were also found adulterated.

The review thus reveals that the researches on enhancing awareness of consumers related to adulteration and its detection are sporadic. Although efforts have been made to detect the percentage of food adulteration in number of cities big and small, none of the study deal with knowledge and awareness of women (homemaker) about food adulteration. That is why investigator found it necessary to generate awareness among the homemakers about the existing food adulteration practices of the retailers and manufacturers and equip them with simple household test for detecting adulteration.

Table 1:

Health Hazards of Adulteration

Source-YOJANA, April 16, 1980, page 16 "Government of India"

Objectives of the study:

To identify popularly used brands of selected food products by the homemakers.

To study buying practices of homemakers related to selected food products.

To measure the extent of awareness related to food adulteration among selected group of homemakers.

To measure the relationship between extent of awareness of the homemakers related to food adulteration and their age, income and education.

To measure the adulteration in selected food products through standard lab testing procedures.


In the present study questionnaire was prepared in four parts:

Background information of the respondents;

Buying practices of the homemakers;

Awareness scale on food adulteration;

The awareness scale was prepared with items or statements which are based on factual information related to consumer’s responsibilities and food adulteration. While preparing the scale, care was taken to include all such questions that would elicit the information needed to attain the objectives of the study.

To establish the validity and difficulty index of the awareness scale a panel of judges from five faculties (Faculty of Education, Master of Business Management, Business Studies Department, Economics, Home Science Department) were selected and requested to check the clarity and correctness of each statement. The reliability of awareness scale was 0.67. All the items that had validity index of 0.20 or more and difficulty index between 0.30 and 0.70 were included in final scale. The final scale consisted of 33 items.

Out of 281 families in Mahadev area 60 families were selected from the sample population on the basis of stratified systematic sampling technique. The questionnaire was filled up; the data were then processed, tabulated and analyzed. The data were analyzed employing descriptive as well as rational statistics. In this, rational statistics such as correlation, student-t test were computed; on the basis of that test null hypothesis was accepted or rejected.

To fulfill the objective of testing the popularly used brands, the standard lab testing procedures were carried out for selected spices and flours. Three qualities of selected food products were taken i.e. standard (Branded), sub-standard (packed but not branded) and loosely available. Selection was done after identifying the popularly used brands by the respondents. The lab-tested results were matched for the amount of adulteration and results were briefed on the absence/presence of adulterant in food products.


Background information: The result revealed that from the selected sample size one-third of respondents were less than or equal to thirty years of age, while half of the respondents were between 31 to 50 years of age group, 28% of respondents were educated up to higher secondary. In the present study majority of the respondents i.e., 70% were homemakers, while self employed and professionals were very less i.e., almost 2% each.

Major decisions for purchasing food: The result disclosed that, in 45% of families, the home maker took the major decisions for purchasing food for their families, where as 16.67% of families were dependent on the decisions made by the husband, one forth of the families under study took the decisions jointly (husband and wife) and in only very few families, decisions were taken up by their in laws.

Buying practices of the homemakers: The present study was carried out on sixty respondents. The buying practices includes the type of packaging used while purchasing, brand choice, shop choice and purchase frequency of the selected items undertaken for study.

Table 2:

Distribution of the Respondents with respect to their Extent of Awareness regarding Rights and Responsibilities related to food quality

Table 3:

Distribution of the Respondents with respect to their Extent of Awareness regarding Food Adulteration

Types of packaging: The results depicted that nearly 38 percent of the respondents were using chilly powder, coriander power, turmeric power and besan in packed form, where as only 2% bought packed sindhav. Half of the respondents purchase suji in packed form.

Nearly half of the sample respondents used loose flours of singoda, moriya, rajagara and bajara. Very few, that is, 10% of the respondents purchased asafotedia, besan, salt, rice flour in loose form. Wheat is bought by 83.33% of the respondents in whole form followed by rice and bajara that is 68.33 and 50% respectively. Only one-forth of the respondents purchased turmeric, coriander and garam masala in whole form. It is interesting to note that, nearly half of the respondents were not using sindhav, sanchal, handwa flour, moriya flour and singoda flour.

Preference of brand: When the distribution of the respondents with respect to their use of brands while purchasing spices was done, the result showed that 40% respondents used Ramdev brand, where as one-sixth of the respondents used Gaytri and Parth brand. Very few of them used Everest, Balaji and Badshah brand of food items selected for the present study (Fig. 2).

Purchase frequency: With respect to purchase frequency, the facts discovered through survey revealed that half of the respondents purchased singoda flour, moriya flour and bajara flour on monthly basis. More then half of the respondents purchased whole wheat and rice yearly, while very few respondents purchased flours and spices weekly or fortnightly (Fig. 3).

Shop used: The result revealed that the most popular type of shop used by the respondents under study for spices and flour was a general kiryana store where as only 5% of the respondents purchased spices from small scale industries (Fig. 4).

Fig. 2:

Preference of brand for selected spices

Fig. 3:

Purchase frequency of selected spices and flours

Consumer awareness: Regarding consumer awareness the result depicted that majority, that is, two-third of the respondents were moderately aware about their rights and responsibilities related to food quality and food adulteration. The aggregate mean item score regarding consumer rights and responsibilities was found to be 1.687 which shows a shift towards high awareness (Table 2). The aggregate mean item score was found to be 1.543 regarding food adulteration which shows on an average the respondents were moderately aware regarding adulteration of food (Table 3).

Food adulteration problem faced: The result depicted that little less than half of the respondents have sometimes or other faced problem of adulterated food, one-fifth of the respondents have never come across adulterated food or may be they were not aware about adulterated food.

Testing of hypothesis: In this, rational statistics such as correlation, student-t test were computed, on the basis of the above test, null hypothesis was accepted or rejected.

Table 4:

Co-efficient of Correlation for Five Variables including Extent of Awareness

**Significant at 0.01 level *Significant at 0.05 level
Table 5:

Effect of Age on Extent of Awareness

**Significant at 0.01 level *Significant 0.05 level

HOA: There exist no relationship between extent of awareness of the respondents and their personal and family variables.
Personal variables
HOA1: Age
HOA2: Educational level
HOA3: Family income,
HOA1: There exist no relationship between extent of awareness of the respondents related to food adulteration and their age.

Product moment correlation was computed between extent of awareness of the respondents and their age, which revealed no significant relationship either at 0.01 level or at 0.05 level of significance (Table 4). Thus, null hypothesis was not rejected.

Age had no influence on the extent of awareness of the respondents, whether he/she was young, middle or old age (Table 5). Age was found negatively correlated with education (r-0.31) and highly positively correlated with family income (r = 0.35**). It was also found that respondents of old age group were less educated and vice versa. The result also revealed that homemaker of older group had higher family income. So probably age has indirect influence on the extent of awareness of the respondents. The result of studies carried out by Garman and Jonest (1992) and Dhyani and Saklani (1994) revealed similar results as that of the present study that is the age was not found to influence the extent of awareness of the respondents as a consumer.

HOA2: There exist no relationship between extent of awareness of the respondents related to food adulteration and their education.

Product moment correlation was computed between extent of awareness of the respondents and their educational level which revealed highly positive relationship significant at 0.01 level and at 0.05 level of significance. (Table 4).

Fig. 4:

Shop used by respondents for purchasing selected spices and flours

Table 6:

Effect of Education on Extent of Awareness

**Significant at 0.01 level, *Significant at 0.05 level
Table 7:

Effect of Family Income on Extent of Awareness

**Significant at 0.01 level, *Significant at 0.05 level

To find out if there exist any significant difference in the extent of awareness among illiterate, having higher secondary education or with college education respondents, t-test was computed. The result revealed that there exists no significant difference between extent of awareness of the respondents who were illiterate and respondent with secondary educations, significant difference existed between extent of awareness of the respondents with secondary education and college education and college education and illiterate. (Table 6) Thus, null hypothesis was rejected.

Table 8:Absence or Presence of Adulterationin Selected Food Products Adulterant

Education highly influences the extent of awareness of the respondents. Higher educational level reveals higher extent of awareness.

It was also found positively correlated with family income (r = 0.40**). In other words respondents of higher education were found to have higher family income and also when educational level increased, respondents have more resources at their disposal thus, exposure also increased, which effected the awareness of the respondents. The results of the study carried out by Dhyani Saklani (1994), were similar to the present study which states that education and family income were found strongly associated with consumer awareness.

HOA3: There exist no relationship between extent of awareness of the respondents related to food adulteration and their family income.

Product moment correlation was computed between extent of awareness of the respondents and their family income which revealed highly positive relationship significant at 0.01 level and at 0.05 level (Table 4).

To find out if there exist any significant difference in the extent of awareness of the respondents which were from lower income, middle income and higher income t-value was computed (Table 7). The result revealed that there exist no significant difference in the extent of awareness of the respondents with lower family income and middle family income and middle family income and higher family income, but there is highly significant difference in the extent of awareness of the respondents with lower family income and higher family income of the respondents. Thus, null hypothesis was rejected.

Family income highly influences the extent of awareness of the respondents. Higher the family income, higher the extent of awareness. Family income was highly positively correlated with age (0.35**) and education (0.40**). It was found that respondents of higher family income have more resources at their disposal which in turns may lead to higher purchase frequency leading to more market experience and also more exposure to magazine and newspapers which often carry information for consumers which in turn may effect the awareness of the respondents.

Experimental method: The result revealed that Ramdev asafoetida (standard) was found to be adulterated with resins. Substandard product like Apex-chilly powder and Annapurna asafoetida were adulterated with oil soluble coaltar dyes and starch respectively. Apex chilly powder was found dark in colour compared to other two samples, moisture content was also found more (plate no-2) than the other two sample. Loose-1 coriander powder and loose-1 turmeric powder were found adulterated with dung and chalk powder respectively. It was found that in loose-1 coriander powder. Approximately 50 percent of adulteration would be there in coriander loose powder. It is indeed interesting to note that all the three loose samples of salt, sanchal and sindav were found adulterated when lab tested.

Loose-1 wheat flour was found adulterated with grit and atta from which maida-suji has been extracted and taste was also insipid. All the three loose samples of rajagara flour were found to be adulterated with grit or chalk powder. In visual inspection of wheat flour and bajara flour, loose-1 flour one was darker in colour rather than other two samples, the reason could be that more bran particles were present in loose-1 flour that is wheat flour and bajara flour.

The results also revealed that almost all loose products were found adulterated except handwa flour, rice flour and singoda flour rather than standard or sub-standard food products (Table 8).

Conclusion: Form the present study it could be concluded that low income group respondents were least educated, had low awareness about their rights and responsibilities and food adulteration. So this group needs to be armed with lot of information and training on the issues of food adulteration and ways to raise their voice when felt cheated. They had limited income, so they could not reach the standard items of their choice. On seeing such condition of consumer, our government has made sincere efforts to curb the fraudulent practices by enactment of various laws. It is highly unlikely that more legislation or increasing fines and jail terms alone will help reduce adulteration, particularly given the corruption that exists in the enforcement area and the low conviction rate. Greater consumer vigilance and action alone can help improve the situation. But such efforts are not fruitful unless consumers themselves are aware of their rights and responsibilities. Under these circumstances, consumer literacy is the need of the hour with special attention to low income groups who suffer the most.

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