One 45-year old man in India went to an oncologist due to having common signs of stomach cancer. Sadly, his worst fears came true and the biopsy results were positive. However, another concern is that this man led a very healthy lifestyle, worked out regularly, followed a healthy diet, and had no addictions. When he asked his doctor why is this happening to him, he did not know what to say.
The Rise of Cancer in Healthier Individuals
The abovementioned case is not the only one in which a healthy person got cancer; somehow, carcinogens manage to enter our bodies through our diets and cause complications with our health. Namely, according to specific reports on food exports from India, this country has the most agri-food rejects to USA and the EU. The major reasons for this are microbial contamination, drug residues, heavy metals, food additives, myctoxins, and pesticide residues. The question which arises is if this is the quality for exported foods, what is the standard for products sold on the Indian market?
What Is the Status of Food Quality in India?
Unfortunately, these days, pesticides, preservatives, and wasted calories are a ‘new trend’ in Indian recipes.
They were introduced in food production with the aim to prolong the safety and edibility. Sugar, vegetable oil, and salt are classical examples of preservatives that supply the body with nutrients when consumed in a proper amount.
Nevertheless, due to the advancement in technology, nowadays, there are synthetic preservatives that do keep the food safe from spoilage; however, they have serious side effects like hyperreactivity and gastric cancer, studies point out. They are present in processed meats, canned goods, cold drinks, and prepacked meals.
Regulated quantity of dilluted and mixed pesticides is crucial for the safety of food; but, many Indian farmers confirmed using a lot of banned pesticides for the purpose of a quick, stable, and sustained yield. This is why thorough washing of produce is necessary in order to minimize the pesticide residue that can be cancerous.
Synthetic food colourants like Blue 1 and Yellow 5 are commonly used throughout industries despite their proven negative impact on the health. Other adulterants are chalk powder in milk, saw dust in chilli powder, as well as coal tar in tea powder.
Since their storing period is short, veggies and fruits are treated with ripening agents upon harvest to enhance their colors and make them more appealing to the customer.
What Can We Expect?
Since the food industry has been growing exponentially, we hope for instant foods that last as long as possible. In an attempt to enable this, the industry needs to practice the best methods for prolonging shelf-life, improving revenues, and fighting off competition. But, can this be achieved without a compromise of food safety? It is high time that manufacturers start following more ethical guidelines and protect their consumers.
What’s more, despite the Food standard and safety act of India, there are hardly brands that are being suspended due to poor compliance to quality. There is a need of monthly checks of food products from random shops and areas to secure the optimal quality of the food we consume, but the food for the generations to come.