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Quick Ways To Tell Whether Your Red Chilli Powder is Adulterated or Not

Red chilli powder is the most common spice around the world. It is the most demanded spice, making it more prone to adulteration. Whether you purchase red chilli powder wholesale or retail, checking for its authenticity has been crucial.

Though spice adulteration is an age-old practice. It’s been documented by ancient Greek and Roman merchants for adulterated black pepper. Unfortunately, this problem still persists today. In fact, people have found more ways to cheapen spices to gain more illicit profit. And red chilli powder being the most demanded spice is the most contaminated. 

We have various substances and chemicals that look like red chilli powder and can be easily added without any noticeable differentiation. These contaminants are generally added to the spice to increase their bulk or to enhance their colour. As a result, the number of spices increases, and the tint becomes more saturated and appealing.

Fortunately, there are several methods you can use to check if your powder is pure or impure. In this article, we have described some quick ways to tell whether your red chilli powder is adulterated or not.

Adulterants used in red chilli powder

Common adulterants mixed with red chilli powder are water-soluble coal-tar-based colours, soapstone, starch, sand, talc powder, brick powder, sawdust, red oxide, etc.

In addition, some elicit manufacturers also add a harmful chemical called Rhodamine B. This chemical is a by-product of extracting essential oil from red chillies. Rhodamine B is considered harmful to human and animal health.

When this chemical is mixed with oil and then dried, it creates a mixture that looks like red chilli powder. This powder is commonly used as an additive in furnaces. However, some red chilli powder manufacturers use it as an adulterant. What is more concerning is that this powder is sometimes tossed and sold as red chilli powder.

Unfortunately, you can’t test this adulterant at home. If you suspect your red chilli powder contains Rhodamine B or red oxide, you may have to take it to the laboratory for the test. However, you can test other contaminants with a quick home test. Here learn quick ways to check red chilli powder for different pollutants.

How to check red chilli powder for adulteration at home

Whether you buy Indian spices online or from your local supermarket, they could be adulterated. Different spices have different pollutants and different methods of identifying them. For red chilli powder, you can conduct these quick home experiments to tell whether the powdered spice is adulterated.

The water test

Red chilli powder is commonly adulterated with artificial colours, brick powder, or talc powder. A glass of water can reveal these adulterants easily. Take a glass of water and add a teaspoon of red chilli powder. If it is artificially coloured or added brick powder is, it will change colour. Pure chilli powder does not dissolve with water.

Checking for soapstone

Soapstone is another common adulterant used in chilli powder. And checking for this substance is pretty easy as well. Add a teaspoon of the spice to a glass of water and let it rest for a while. If you notice a white residue at the bottom of the glass, and it feels smooth and soapy when rubbed in your palm, it could indicate the presence of soapstone.

Checking for brick powder

The brick powder has a similar texture and colour as  chilli powder. Therefore it is commonly used as an adulterant for the spice. To check the presence of brick powder, do a water test. Then, take out the residue sitting at the bottom and rub it against your palm using your finger. If you feel some grittiness, your spice may have the brick powder added.

Checking for artificial colours

If your chilli powder has a bright hue, and you suspect it is adulterated with artificial colour, a simple water test described below could tell the truth. Just add spice to the water and closely look for streaks. If you notice coloured lines in the water, your powder is probably adulterated with artificial colours.

Checking for starch

Starch is used to add bulk to the chilli powder. You can easily tell whether your powder is adulterated with starch by a simple test that needs iodine or iodine solution. Add a few drops of this substance to a teaspoon of powdered spice. If you notice the bluish colour change, your spice is adulterated with starch.

Things to take care of when purchasing red chilli powder

  • Purchase the spice from trusted brands, retail stores, or certified wholesale red chilli powder suppliers.
  • Avoid buying powder with an extra shine and bright, rich colour, as it could be contaminated. Normal  chilli powder doesn’t have extreme lustre and hue.
  • Check the package for logos and marks of the food safety authorities of your country or region.
  • Check out manufacturer details, manufacturing date, and best-before date to ensure the spice you buy is fresh and of good quality.

So now you know how to test chilli powder for adulteration. You can use these methods to check your purchased spice. But the best way to avoid contaminated red chilli powder or other spices is by selecting a trusted spice supplier to buy Indian spices online or from physical stores.

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