Commission: Watch Out For Adulterated Products

Adulteration is the deliberate substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging, or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain. Adulterants are
15 May 2017 11:00
Commission: Watch Out For Adulterated Products
From Left:Milk and Cosmetics

Adulteration is the deliberate substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging, or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain. Adulterants are used to cut corners and save money.

As Fiji’s reliance on imported products continue to grow, the exposure it gets towards adulterated products is quite high, especially when most of the coomon ones originate from overseas. Products such as milk, oil, spices,honey, cosmetics –etc are all overseas based.


Examples of adulterated products


  1. Milk

One way to adulterate milk is to mix it with water which often reduce the nutritional value of milk. Other adulterant for milk are:


caustic soda,



lime and

ammonium sulphate



  1. Olive Oil Cheaper cracked oil is mixed with this Olive oil and in the process deteriorates its healthiness. Often referred to as the pride of Italy, the trade of this oil is often through the  approval of the International Olive Council, but producers of adulterated alternatives prey on unsuspecting consumers in under developed countries.


  1. Honey

Honey has been so adulterated that some bottles are just filled with coloured sugar syrup. The level of infringement of this adulterated syrup is so far spread that today European countries has banned import of honey from certain countries. The adulterations are tough to detect and hence the adulterants win.



  1. Cosmetics

Cosmetics are articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.

Among the products included in this definition are skin moisturizers, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail polishes, eye and facial makeup, cleansing shampoos, permanent waves, hair colours, and deodorants, as well as any substance intended for use as a component of a cosmetic product.

A cosmetic shall be deemed to be adulterated if it bears or contains any poisonous or hidden substance which may render it injurious to users under the conditions of use prescribed in the labelling on the packages.


In Fiji recently, there has been speculation of adulterated honey being spotted in our local supermarket.

The suspected is said to have different colour from the normal brownish gold colour it is known for. Local authorities have been alerted to conduct tests on the suspected brands to determine the adulteration.


Disadvantages of Food Adulteration:

Adulteration like water to milk, moisture to butter and mixing of edible oils with cheaper oil prove injurious to health.

Foods like rice and pulses are polished with talc and asbestos fiber for better appearance these are not removed even after washing and cleaning and even cooking. Cases of cancer have been traced with the same practice.

Spices are the most adulterated item in food products.

Use of undesirable colors like lead chromate in turmeric can cause lead poisoning and also stiffness of limbs and paralysis. Use of colors can also impair liver and can cause cancers.

Edible oils are mixed with some mineral oils and non-edible oils may cause nausea, impaired liver functions and also cancer.


Advice from the Commission

Traders should ensure that trading adulterated products is inhumane and does not augur with good business ethics and can one day tarnish the image of your business to such an extent that every consumer will shun dealing with you. For consumers, report any suspected case adulteration when you encounter it. Remember, you report can save a population from being subject to consumption of unwanted stuffs and exposure to unhealthy substance.


Next week: Harassment of Coercion Against consumers

For more information/details on Fiji Commerce Commission and Commerce Commission Decree 2010, visit our website on or join us on our Facebook page at


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