Why Whole Spices are Better than Powdered: New ICMR Guidelines

▴ Why Whole Spices are Better than Powdered
The guidelines also stress the role of parents in educating their children about healthy eating habits. It is crucial for parents to encourage discussions about food safety and the importance of choosing clean, unadulterated food.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued new dietary guidelines emphasizing the importance of choosing safe and clean foods. Among these guidelines, one of the key recommendations is to prefer whole spices over powdered ones due to the risk of adulteration in the latter. These guidelines are part of a broader initiative to help Indians make healthier food choices and avoid the dangers of contaminated and adulterated foods.

Why Whole Spices Over Powdered?

Spices are an integral part of Indian cuisine, adding flavor and providing health benefits through their antioxidant properties. However, the ICMR warns that powdered spices are more prone to adulteration, which can pose significant health risks. Adulteration often involves mixing the spices with cheaper, sometimes harmful substances that can lead to health problems.

The ICMR advises that whole spices, which are uniform in color, size, and shape, are a safer choice. Whole spices are less likely to be tampered with compared to their powdered counterparts. Moreover, buying certified products can further reduce the risk of consuming adulterated spices. Recently, even popular brands like MDH and Everest have faced scrutiny over pesticide contamination, highlighting the importance of vigilance in choosing safe food products.

Safe Food Guidelines from ICMR

ICMR, along with the National Institute of Nutrition, has released 17 new dietary guidelines tailored for different age groups in India. These guidelines focus on ensuring the safety and quality of foods, which can be compromised by various factors including microbial contamination, chemical residues, and adulteration.

To help consumers make safer choices, the guidelines include several practical tips:

1. Whole Spices: Always opt for whole spices rather than powdered ones. Ensure they are uniform in color, size, and shape and buy certified products.

2. Vegetable Oils: Purchase oils from reliable sources to avoid adulteration. Oils sold loose from unsealed containers are particularly risky.

3. Milk and Milk Products: Buy butter, ghee, and khoa from reputable sources. It’s advisable to consume pasteurized milk only, which is safer and less likely to be contaminated.

4. Fruits and Vegetables: Avoid fruits and vegetables that are discolored, physically damaged, shrunken, bruised, wilted, or decayed. Visible evidence of insects and molds is a clear sign to steer clear.

Understanding Food Contamination and Adulteration

Food safety is a major concern due to the potential for contamination and adulteration. The ICMR guidelines highlight several sources of food safety issues:

- Microbial Contamination: Bacteria, viruses, and other microbes can contaminate food, leading to foodborne illnesses.
- Chemical Contamination: Pesticides, heavy metals, and other chemicals can enter the food supply through various means, posing long-term health risks.
- Adulteration: Unscrupulous practices where cheaper or harmful substances are added to food products to increase volume or reduce costs.

Natural enzymes in food also contribute to deterioration over time, affecting quality and safety. Environmental conditions like humidity, temperature, and storage time further influence food quality.

Practical Tips for Everyday Grocery Shopping

The ICMR's guidelines are not just theoretical but provide practical advice that consumers can follow:

- Vegetable Oils: Always buy from trusted brands and avoid loose oils sold in unsealed containers.
- Dairy Products: Ensure butter, ghee, and khoa come from reliable sources, and stick to pasteurized milk to minimize contamination risks.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Carefully inspect produce before buying. Discard any that show signs of damage or decay.

Importance of Parental Involvement in Health Education

The guidelines also stress the role of parents in educating their children about healthy eating habits. It is crucial for parents to encourage discussions about food safety and the importance of choosing clean, unadulterated food.


ICMR's new dietary guidelines serve as a comprehensive resource for improving food safety and quality in India. By choosing whole spices over powdered ones, buying from reliable sources, and carefully inspecting groceries, consumers can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses and health complications caused by adulteration.

These guidelines not only aim to protect health but also to educate and empower individuals to make better food choices. As food safety continues to be a pressing issue, following these recommendations can lead to healthier and safer eating habits.

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About the Author


Sunny Parayan

Hey there! I'm Sunny, a passionate writer with a strong interest in the healthcare domain! When I'm not typing on my keyboard, I watch shows and listen to music. I hope that through my work, I can make a positive impact on people's lives by helping them live happier and healthier.

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