CityGreens Consumer Awareness Initiative. How to check for adulteration in Red Chilli Powder.

Of all the spices that are used in Indian households, the one that is amongst the most widely used and also most commonly adulterated is Red Chilli Powder. Spices are adulterated primarily to add mass and refine color.

Adulterants used in Red Chilli Powder:

Common adulterants mixed in red chili powder are brick powder, sawdust, sand, soapstone, water-soluble coal-tar based colors, and red oxide.

Another dangerous adulterant that may be added to red chili powder is a chemical called Rhodamine B. Rhodamine B is a by-product of the process of extraction of chili oil. It is poisonous and harmful to humans. When mixed with oil and dried it forms a mixture that looks precisely like red chili powder. This powder is meant to be used as an additive in furnaces. However, there have been reports of same being mixed with and sold as chili powder in parts of AP.

Home test to detect the presence of adulterants in chilli powder.

  • Test for brick powder: rub some chili powder on a glass surface. You can use an inverted glass and rub it on its base. If the surface gets scratched, it’s because of the presence of brick powder or sand.
  • Test for color (artificial or coal-tar based): sprinkle some chilli powder on water, if you see streaks of colors descending into the water, it shows the presence of color.
  • Test for Soap Stone: Add some red chili to a glass full of water. Soap Stone will settle as a smooth white powder at the base of the glass.
  • Test for Red Oxide: This test involves using concentrated Hydrochloric acid and is not advisable to be carried out at home
  • Test for Rhodamine B: Unfortunately, this also cannot be tested at home.

Stay Safe!


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