The generous use of spices in most Indian dishes is always striking. Indian pantry is devoid of a spice rack with a variety of spices stored in it. These spices have been known to have a much distinct flavour, aroma and phenomenal nutritional benefits. These spices even come to our rescue whenever an ailment hits us. Personally speaking, there is no single winter day spent in my house without having a strong and flavourful kadha made with a variety of spices starting from cinnamon sticks to black pepper and cloves. That’s how ubiquitous spices are in Indian kitchens. However, are you aware of the fact that these magically flavourful and beneficial spices can be adulterated too? The world we are living in is full of fraudulent practices where even the simplest of foods are adulterated and contaminated. But don’t panic, the Food Safety and Standards Authority Of India (FSSAI) took to its social media handle recently and shared some simple tests to check whether the spices in your pantry are adulterated or not. Take a look and conduct these tests today itself to know whether your spices are safe for consumption.

1. Cloves

To check whether the cloves in your pantry are unadulterated, drop them in a glass of water. If they start floating, then they are adulterated.

2. Black Pepper

Black peppercorns have a hard texture and that’s the best way to check their purity. Take some peppercorns on a tabletop and try crushing them with your fingers. If you can crush a few of them, then the crushed ones are tiny blackberries mixed with them.

3. Red Chilli Powder

To check if the jar of red chilli powder sitting in your pantry is safe for consumption, add a spoonful of it to a glass of water. Check for any textural change. If the water feels gritty, then there’s brick powder in it. and if it feels soapy, then there is soapstone present in it.

4. Table Salt

Needless to say, no food can be complete without salt but even salt could be adulterated. To check whether it's adulterated, cut a potato in half and sprinkle some salt on the surface. Add two drops of lemon juice to the same half of the potato and wait for any colour change. If the colour of salt changes to blue, then know that the salt is adulterated.

5. Sugar

The bond of Indians with sugar or sweets is not a hidden secret to the world anymore. From the morning chai to the post-dinner dessert, sugar is all-pervasive in most Indian households in most meals. However, the sugar in your pantry can be adulterated with urea too. To check the purity, all you have to do is mix a spoonful of sugar in a glass of water and wait for it to dissolve. Then smell the sugar solution and if you get a smell of ammonia then the sugar is adulterated.


We hope that these simple tests will help you move towards making the right food choices. Try them out today and check whether your spices are safe for further consumption.