Frauds in various consumer sectors are now commonly practiced particularly in developing countries including India. Foods are purposely contaminated with additives to increase bulk, attractiveness, disguise spoilage and increase profit. All food products targeted for adulteration are high commercial value products and /or produced in high tonnage around the world and have direct impact on national progress and production (GDP). Despite the fact, there is a paucity of reliable data with regards to adulteration and misbranding in rural Tamil Nadu. The present cross sectional study assesses the prevalence and awareness of food adulteration and misbranding among rural consumers in south India. The study population comprised of 75 households selected using systematic random sampling method from in and around Chunampet Village clusters, Cheyyur Taluk, Kancheepuram district. Structured questionnaire was used to assess socio demographic characteristics (age, sex, education, occupation, per day average income), awareness level, brands purchased and history of food illness. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS and T-test and chi-square analysis was used to assess the relationship between variables. Simple procedure was used to detect adulterants in fifteen commonly consumed food items in rural area. Commonly consumed food items were identified based on the household grocery list. The prevalence of food adulteration (in terms of purity) ranged from 75% - 10%. Awareness level was highest for literates than illiterates. Further, rights and responsibility related to food adulteration was found to be poor among this population. Product, Nutrition and food label awareness level was only 2% of the households. However, misleading statements in terms of (e.g. no added Mono sodium glutamate) was observed among 25% of the branded products surveyed. Occupation, Education and income have significant effect on awareness level. Thus, consumer movements in this direction have to be actively encouraged through awareness and education on food adulteration and misbranding among this population.

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