Bengal Physician Journal
Volume 7 | Issue 1 | Year 2020

An Overview of “Poison in the Frying Pan”

Moni S Bhattacharjee

Department of General Medicine, RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Corresponding Author: Moni S Bhattacharjee, Department of General Medicine, RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India, Phone: +91 8910443710, e-mail: Monisankar332@gmail.com

How to cite this article: Bhattacharjee MS. An Overview of “Poison in the Frying Pan”. Bengal Physician Journal 2020;7(1):23.

Source of support: Nil

Conflict of interest: None


The authors have rightly enlightened us by giving an example of the dangerous food adulteration system that is so common and popular but sadly unrecognized in our society. The lower socioeconomic parts of the society are affected mostly by it and lack of awareness is the main reason behind this. Here, the authors have correctly told us about the damage created by the agent triorthocresyl phosphate (TOCP), which was mixed intentionally in the edible oil for profit. But this is only the tip of the iceberg; so many more agents are also to be adulterated in the edible oil in the form of Argemone mexicana oil, mineral oil, castor oil, and Karanja oil, which have so much toxic effect on the health of the consumer like the adulteration of A. mexicana oil in the mustard oil can cause epidemic dropsy, glaucoma, and loss of eyesight. Adulteration of mineral oil in edible oil can cause liver damage and mixing of trans fat and saturated fat in the vegetable oil instead of omega 3 and omega 6 unsaturated fats which are beneficial for our health is also common. Another adulteration, very commonly in India as Lathyrus sativus (khesari dal), causes neurolathyrism although no definitive studies exist. To identify the adulterant product and to separate them sulphuric acid test is used that helps to identify the presence of A. mexicana oil in the edible oil.

Although the government is enacting and implementing various acts and laws to prevent adulteration, still it is not sufficient. In a study published in the International Journal of Health Sciences and Research (www.ijhsr.org) (vol 8, issue 12, December 2018) adulteration occurs in unpackaged oil samples than in packaged samples and the lower socioeconomic part of the society preferred unpackaged sample more commonly. Since food adulteration is a threat to the entire system, we need more studies and scientific data about the process of separating the product from the original, and also to educate and make society aware of the danger.


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