Food products grown in a polluted environment may affect health

New Delhi: While people have started making healthy food choices. The rise in consumption of organic food, low-calorie drinks and preference for healthy cooking oil are few examples, but the source of ingredients like cooking oil, grains & vegetables, etc., is still unknown to most of us.

Considering the high levels of air, water and soil pollution together with widespread adulteration raises some serious questions on the nutritional quality of food products available in the country.

According to the report by Ellen MacArthur Foundation, published this year, due to high levels of air, water and soil pollution, compounded by irresponsible use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides, the nutritional value of food has diminished over the time.

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The report finds out that many foods contain traces of toxic chemicals and plastics. Given the fact that India has a high level of pollution, the study brings more concern to us.

“For the prevention of diet-related diseases, like diabetes, heart diseases, and hypertension, we advise patients to choose the food which is grown in the non-polluted environment and is chemical-free. Soil which contains any form of toxic metals or chemicals and the water is used for irrigation is contaminated; it will also affect the crop, seeds, and oilseeds growing in such a polluted environment. Therefore, this is not so good for human consumption and also disease-causing in many ways”, said Dr SP Byotra, Chairman, Department of Internal Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi.

While the growing concerns regarding food safety in the country have triggered changes in the food industry, especially in terms of providing organic foods, the focus remains on pesticides and fertilizers used.

The environment (air, water, and soil) in which the food products are grown is still not considered important. However, polluted water and air together with contaminated soil pass the contaminants into the food products. Fortunately, there are companies that are going the extra mile to bring you food from pure unpolluted sources for you.

Wagga Wagga is one such a food company that is known to produce their cooking oil from the oilseeds grown on farms in Australia, where soil, water, and air are pure, free from pollution and any chemical adulteration.

“Oil being the cooking medium is present in nearly all the food that you eat, therefore, it is important to use cooking oil that supports your healthy eating by bringing purity from the source to you. Unhealthy Cooking oil can accelerate the inflammatory process in the body that leads to chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart diseases amongst others. Unfortunately, it is also highly prone to environmental pollution, especially air pollution. The high level of air pollution, particularly the ozone; not only affects the yield of oilseeds but also it’s quality by damaging cell membranes. This broadly means, no matter how healthy your cooking oil is, if it is grown in a polluted environment (air, water & soil) it will not support your healthy lifestyle”, said Adhiraj Sarin, Chairman, Wagga Wagga Oil.

Improving the environment and reducing pollution by bringing structural reforms is a sustainable but long-term solution. In the meantime, it is important to help consumers make informed choices by establishing a link between pollution and food quality and bringing the risks of food pollution in public discourse.

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