Adulterated Ghee Seized In Gujarat; 6 Tips To Check Ghee At Home

Ghee is an integral part of most Indian diets. Made with malai or milk cream, it is added to dal, roti, rice, gravies, and other recipes. It is considered one of the best sources of fat to make sweets in India. You must have heard people taking pride in selling and gifting sweets made in pure ghee.

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However, everyone uses the tag of pure ghee these days. Until you are making a fresh batch at home, how do you identify that the box of ghee you just bought is not adulterated? How do you ensure that it is made with unadulterated ingredients and hygienic surroundings? 

In the past few days, two incidents of fake ghee confiscation have made headlines. On June 23, 2024, a raid by the team of the Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) reportedly seized more than 3,000 kg of adulterated ghee in Gujarat’s Navsari facility. They found that palm oil was being mixed with ghee to cut the cost.

The authorities immediately sent samples of confiscated ghee to the laboratories, and the reports confirmed that they were mixed with palm oil. A similar incident was reported in New Delhi’s Malviya Nagar, where the authorities seized 450 kg of fake ghee. Recently, Mumbai Police’s crime branch also burst a ghee adulteration racket, in which they found that the clarified butter was being mixed with vanaspati colours, palm oil, and flavouring agents. 

Here is how you can identify if the ghee you just bought is fake or original.

Aroma Test

Ghee has a nutty and distinct aroma. It is not overpowering but slightly pleasant. If it is made with cow’s milk, the pungent scent will make you want to keep it away from your nose. If the ghee is adulterated, it will have a neutral scent and lack grainy texture. When it solidifies, it will have inconsistencies that the original ghee does not have.

Consistency Test

If you have ever made ghee at home or watched someone else do it, you must have witnessed that it boasts a grainy texture and remains semi-solid at room temperature. However, when you melt it, the fat molecules flaunt a subtle golden hue. If the ghee you recently bought is adulterated, it will solidify and have a smooth texture.

Heating & Melting Test

When you heat some amount of ghee in a hot pan, it will release a pleasant aroma. Also, ghee can melt on low heat. If you try to melt a spoonful of solidified ghee with a matchstick, it will turn into liquid (although you might need to burn more than one matchstick). If the ghee is fake or contains other ingredients, it will residue upon melting, change colour, and smell like you have burnt something.

Freezing Test

Take the ghee in a clear container and freeze it for an hour. If the ghee is free from preservatives and palm oil, it will solidify uniformly and won’t separate. However, if the ghee is adulterated, you will witness that its layer will separate due to different densities of elements added to it. If the adulteration is in high amounts, you will be able to witness some residue as well.

Iodine Test

Take melted ghee in a bowl and add a few drops of iodine to it. If the ghee is made from unadulterated cow or buffalo milk, it will show no change in colour. However, if the clarified butter contains other fat ingredients like vanaspati, its colour will change to purple or blue. It is among the easiest and most definitive tests.

Palm Test

Add a teaspoon of solidified ghee to your palm and rub your hands together. Original ghee has a low melting point, therefore, it can melt with the body's heat. Soon your hand will start dripping clarified butter. If the ghee is adulterated, it will take a long time to melt or won’t melt at all.