Loose Edible Oil Testing
Despite the ban on selling of loose edible oil by the Government of India, it is still available in large quantities in various states including Delhi NCR particularly in rural and slum areas. Based on various media report on adulteration in edible oil, Consumer VOICE had taken up the study on testing of loose oils available in various states of our county. The lab test results would be reviewed thoroughly by experts and detail report will be published in Consumer voice magazine and alerted the consumers regarding the adulteration through other electronic media. The test findings will also be forwarded to Government regulators for necessary action on the matter.
To study the adulteration level of loose edible oil which is sold openly in the market.
Collection of samples of loose edible oil was a challenging task as it is banned by the Government. We also had to ensure that the tests were done within the parameters and care was taken to ensure no parameter was missed. Test labs had to be selected with great care so that the reports that eventually come out were authentic.
A team of experienced personnel were deputed for collection of samples from various places with documentary evidences for future references. 1, 015 samples of loose edible oils were taken from 15 states including Delhi. The base of the tests was both on quality and safety parameters as per FSSAI standards and samples were tested at NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accredited laboratory.
Laboratory tests of loose edible oils of 8 varieties namely Mustard, Sesame, Coconut, Sunflower, Palmolein, Soyabean, Groundnut and Cottonseed were done based on the following parameters:
- Visibility – clear
- Odour - Free of rancidity
- Suspended particles – absent
- Refractive index / BR reading
- Sap value
- Iodine value
- Un sap value
- Acid value
- Test of Argemone oil should be negative
VOICE technical team also maintained regular visits to laboratories to monitor the testing to ensure that correct methodology and schedule is adhered to.
Adulteration was found in loose oil samples collected from all 15 states.
74.1% of cotton seed oil samples, 74% of sesame oil and 72% of mustard oil samples did not pass the tests.
Out of the 230 soyabean oil samples, only 46 failed and in the case of sunflower oil, only 34 out of the 206 samples could not pass the test
85% of coconut oil samples failed to meet the specified norms.
Consumer VOICE recommends that Government should:
- Ban the sale of any form of loose edible oils in all states.
- Enforce market surveillance by local authorities to catch the culprits selling loose oils.
- Apply strict punishments for those caught selling loose edible oils.
- FSSAI should remove the provision of state exemptions on the prohibition Regulation.
- Packaging of oil should be in small packets (100ml/200ml) so that it reached to everyone
- State FDAs must constitute a high level enquiry based on this Consumer Voice report
- Advertise for consumers to buy only packaged edible oils to be safe and to avoid adulteration
- For checking this rampant wrong practice, states should form FDA inspection squads to detect sale of loose edible oils.
- FSSAI and Health Ministry should take immediate contingency measures to stop sale of loose oil.