Fact about the food we eat that we eat in our Daily Life are healthy ?
According to an article by an oncologist in The Better India, the food Indians consume is contaminated with a variety of carcinogens – Mycotoxins, Microbial contamination, veterinary drug residues, heavy metals, unauthorized food additives, product composition and pesticide residues.
Several pesticides contain chemicals known to cause cancer after they are sprayed on crops to kill insects, they find their way on to our plates as residue in the harvested food product. The chemicals kill beneficial bacteria in the digestive system and wreak havoc on our immune system.
Malwa in Punjab, knows as the state’s cotton belt, uses a very high amount of pesticides, and is known for a high incidence of cancer.
Also, pesticides found too dangerous for use in other countries are still being used in India. According to a United Nations Industrial Development Organization report, India ranks among the top in agri-food rejects to the US and EU. In December 2016, the Centre told the Delhi High Court that it would continue to allow the use of 51 out of the 67 pesticides that have been banned world over.
Among the 260 pesticides in use in India, 56 are carcinogenic and banned in other countries.
India was among the few countries to resist a ban on Endosulfan, which most of the world had stopped using, despite reports that it was responsible for effects such as neurotoxicity, late sexual maturity, physical deformities, poisoning and cancer in Kerala, where it is widely used.
In May last year, there were reports that 84 per cent of bread and bakery samples collected from Delhi contained residues of food additives such as potassium bromate, potassium iodate or both, which can cause cancer.
What we can do ?
The reasons banned pesticides continue to be used in India and food companies are lax with safety standards are a lack of awareness about their ill-effects and the absence of a strong consumer rights culture.
Farmers are often unaware of the safe limits of using pesticides and fertilizers, and end up putting more than required in the hope of a better yield.
Tackling air and water pollution too needs increased awareness among ordinary citizens, apart from government-level initiatives.
Current status of food quality
“Diet and nutrition are two different aspects of food.” Is the current state of food quality in India a matter of implausible conjecture or a reality yet to dawn in the Indian mindset? Pesticides, preservatives and wasted calories seem to be the trends of the new Indian recipes.
Yes, pesticide residues in food are a growing concern. It is, however, vital to consume healthy and nutritious food after washing them thoroughly. Avoiding fruits and vegetables in fear of residue pesticides would be more harmful that the consumption of minimal residues themselves in causing cancer. Organic foods from reported and accredited farms may be the way forward and needs encouragement from the agriculture department. Educational programmes for farmers from NGO’s and departments would pave the way in foundation of food safety in farms.
The larger question – is our farmer well educated about balancing the quantity of pesticides to be used for safe and optimal yield; or does he believe that more is better! (Dilution and mixing of pesticides in regulated quantity is key.)
A growing concern among consumers is the question – do we have too much pesticide in our food? Are these really harmful? Is there a way to prevent this?
The Endosulfan Tragedy in Kerala has killed over 4,000 people and many have been affected since the 1970’s. Endosulfan is an internationally banned insecticide that was earlier used in cashew plantations to increase the product yield.
The progeny of many of the survivors still suffer from conditions like macrocephaly, intellectual disabilities and cancer. Despite the ban made by UN, Endosulfan is still being used in India. Recent reports in media highlighted traces of endosulfan found in several vegetables. Personal interactions with farmers confirm their use of these banned pesticides owing to a quick, sustained and stable yield.
Traditionally, preservatives were introduced into food products for keeping them safe and edible for long periods. Salt, sugar and vegetable oil are classical examples, which preserve food and provide the body with nutrition when consumed at required amounts (class 1 preservatives).
As technology and research has advanced, we have moved to synthetic preservatives which help store and protect food from spoilage for extremely long periods (class 2 preservatives). While they may protect the food, they’re definitely harming us. Studies suggest that synthetic food preservatives like Sodium benzoate and Sodium nitrite can cause hyper reactivity in children and have been linked to gastric cancer as well. These preservatives are commonly found in cold drinks, processed meat, canned food and most importantly, ready-to-make food products.
Food colorants are another group of chemicals quintessentially placed in the “cancer causing family.” Natural food colorants like pure beet/ pomegranate juice, carrot juice, spinach powder, parsley juice, turmeric powder, blueberry juice and cocoa powder can be used at home and in industries. Their shelf life may be low but they add nutritive value to the food product as well.
Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellow 5 are common synthetic food colourants used in industries even though they have been proven to cause long-term health problems. Indeed the palak gravy you may be having may be onion based gravy with green colourant.
Adulterants range from chalk powder (common in milk), saw dust (found in chilli powder), non-permitted dyes (common in turmeric powder) to coal tar (found in tea powder). Vegetables like green chilies and green peas are coated with malachite green (highly carcinogenic and are used as dyes to study bacteria) to enhance the colour and fruits like apples are coated with wax give them a glossy finish.
What is the solution for these Becteria and Pesticides ? Do we have to live with these chemical or we have a solution for the same …
Don’t worry :
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Many chemicals and pesticides are added to crops when farmer produce them. After that fruits, vegetables and pulsed are polished to look fresh and shiny. Fruits waxes is the process of covering fruits and vegetables with artificial chemicals. These chemicals are petroleum based. Blended paraffin used on fruits and vegetable poisoning results in symptoms like vomiting, irregular heartbeat, convulsion, diabetes, skin problems, Hairfall, Blood Pressure, Sleep problems and sometimes which can be quite severe and lead to cancer.
When a pregnant women want’s vegetable contaminated with pesticides, the fetus can be exposed by the harmful chemicals and cause birth defects.
It can cause development of children’s internal organs and leaves negative impact on their growth.