As a rule of thumb, foods are generally safe. However, there are things that get into food, which could disgust you enough to keep away from food altogether!
What will surprise you further is that many of these things are permitted by the food safety authorities, but within limits. Some substances, like certain toxins are naturally present in foods and so even if the food authorities wanted, they could not ban them totally.
Let us know more about these toxins:
- Watch out! You may be eating rodent’s hair, droppings: Rodent scavenge for food & rummage in food stocks. Where there is laxity, rodent’s hair, urine or droppings might enter foods. So watch out as your food could be biologically contaminated.
- Snack with maggots: Next time you open sealed packs of foods or cans of mushrooms & tomatoes, check carefully. It could be infested with maggots or insect eggs.
- They live in drains, dustbins and in your food: Cockroaches, flies and insects of all kinds can fall into food and are regarded as being highly dangerous if found in foods as they can carry bacteria from dustbins and drains to foods.
- Additives in juices: The fruit juices you enjoy so much could have sulphites. They are deliberately added to fruit juices, in some soft drinks and wines to keep them tasting fresh.
- Unseen dangers have roots: Moulds and fungus grow on foods when the temperature is warm. The rainy season find these in abundance in sauces, jams, jellies, bread, cooked & processed meat and even on fruits sometimes. Surface moulds can be washed or dusted off but that doesn’t mean they have gone away completely. The fungus has roots that go deep into roots and these are not visible to the naked eye.
- Cleaning agents: Cleaning agents like ammonia, bleach, dishwashing liquids and sanitizers can cause turmoil. The carelessness in not rinsing and washing the utensils or cooking surfaces thoroughly can lead to not only a bad taste but some stomach burning and even food poisoning.
- From plants to your plates: Residues of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers used during the agricultural process easily find their way into foods.
- Packaging infuses chemicals into food: Antimony and tins are used in packaging materials from where they can enter food. Foils, cans, pans and storage containers have chemicals which can be released from them into food at low levels.
- Sand, sawdust residues: Have you felt that grit on your tongue? It could be sand in your food. Sand is mixed with powdered foods as sand absorbs moisture prevents clumping. Sawdust is used for the same reason in foods like shredded cheese, etc.
- Fragments of metal, glass: Metal fragments from worn or chipped equipment and containers enter food products during processing. However, glass, plastics, edges of badly opened tin cans and carelessly opened caps on foods fall into food without anyone realising it.
- Gelatine: Veg or Non-veg: Some vegetarian foods like certain cereals could contain animal gelatine, which is used as a binding agent so that the sugar sticks to the cereal.
- Animal derived ingredients in chewing gum, confectionery: If you are one of those who loves to pop a chewing gum then you could actually be eating a secretion from sheep wool called Lanolin. This additive is used in gum because it has an oily texture which makes it easy to chew that gum.