Probe reveals ‘dangerous’ adulteration of chilli powder

A.P. sleuths unearth low quality adulterant which can have devastating effects on the digestive system

Bags of low quality chilli powder, laced with chemical extracts, unfit for human consumption and used as a mere husk in furnaces in China, are being supplied to hotels, hostels and other mass consumption centres in Andhra Pradesh, Vigilance and Enforcement sleuths probing the incidents of adulterated chilli powder have found.

During a recent raid on a cold storage, adulterated chilli powder stacked in 4,500 bags was seized by the Vigilance Department. The stock was registered in seven different names, but their identification could not be proved. 


Preliminary chemical analysis of the powder revealed some shocking truths. The powder is an extract made of low quality, discoloured chillis, red oxide and cooking oil. Further investigations revealed that the powder is made at a unit in Khammam. The powder, known in local parlance as “Chinese powder”, is being exported to China for use as an additive in furnaces.

‘Unfit for consumption’

“We were perplexed when local manufacturers in Khammam told us that the powder exported to China is marked ‘not fit for consumption’, and we are probing how the bags were stacked in cold storages here and sold locally. Often, the inferior quality chilli powder is mixed with quality powder and sold when the prices are high,” said an officer.

Consumption of adulterated chilli powder could have devastating effects on the digestive system. Extract containing red oxide having carcinogenic properties could prove fatal, if consumed.

The “Chinese powder” is usually exported during February-May. The dry inferior quality is powdered, mixed with red oxide and oil, and again dried to form into a powder. It retains some pungency due to the presence of dry chilli.


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