Adulteration in Paneer is very common. More common than you think.
Paneer which you are buying from market at the rate of 300 INR/kg might be synthetic Paneer which roughly costs 30 INR/kg to produce & is very harmful to our health.
Our body is our greatest asset, it is our responsibility to keep it healthy. We must know about the food we are eating & ensure its quality.
How adulterated/synthetic Paneer is made?
There are many methods of making duplicate/adulterated Paneer which involves chemical like Urea, Coal tar dyes, detergent, and Sulphuric Acid —yes Sulphuric Acid.
Paneer is also adulterated with refined wheat flour (maida).
One of the most common process for making synthetic Paneer is as follows:
- Little quantity of milk is mixed with Sodium Bicarbonate aka Baking Soda.
- This mixture is then mixed with Palm Oil/Vegetable Oil (these oils are very cheap).
- This final mixture is then treated with Baking powder and left in container to get synthetic Paneer.
How to identify synthetic/adulterated/sub-standard Paneer?
1 . Physical/visual test for finding adulteration in Paneer.
- Pure Paneer: It is firm and soft. It should have closely knit smooth texture throughout. If you apply little pressure on it with your fingers it won’t separate into small dusts easily.
- Adulterated Paneer : It is hard & rubber like in texture. If you mash it with fingers it will break into small dusts. This is due to fact that baking soda in synthetic Paneer can’t withstand even small pressure, thus it breaks easily.
2. Easy test at home to find adulteration in Paneer.
Take few pieces of Paneer and boil it in water for few minutes, allow it to cool down. After it cools down, add Soybean powder or Split Pigeon pea powder (Arhar dal) and leave it for 5–10 minutes. Observe for any change in color.
- Normal Paneer: There won’t be any change in color.
- Adulterated Paneer: A red color will appear which indicates presence of Detergent or Urea.
3. Taste test for adulteration
Take a bowl full of water and add Paneer pieces to it, leave it for 10 hours or more. Now smell and taste a small piece of Paneer.
- Pure Paneer: It will have milky pleasant taste.
- Adulterated Paneer: Bland or no taste or some kind of bitter and smoky taste.
4. Chemical test for presence of Starch adulteration in Paneer:
Take few pieces of Paneer and boil it in water for few minutes, allow it to cool down. After it cools down, add few drops of tincture Iodine (yellow-brown color) to it. Observe for any color change.
- Pure Paneer: There won’t be any change in Yellow-Brown color of Tincture Iodine.
- Adulterated Paneer: Yellow-Brown color of Tincture Iodine will change to Blue (see pic below) which is indication of starch adulteration in it.
And we need to worry about this because there are many factories and villages where large number of people are involved in mass production of synthetic Paneer. And they supply tonnes of kilos of synthetic Paneer to other parts of the country.
So next time you buy Paneer for making delicious dishes and enjoy with your family, make sure you take extra 5 minutes to verify following information at least:
- Verify physical properties like color, taste, smell, mash test.
- Prefer packaged Paneer over loose sold Paneer.
- Check packet for information like: expiry date, batch, address of manufacturer, green dot etc.
Thank you for reading.