Think twice before you bite into a milk barfee this Diwali. It could be made of adulterated milk or milk substitutes which may do more harm than good.
"Since milk is in huge demand and in short supply thanks to the festivities, many of the local halwais (sweet shops) use milk powder and mix them with glucose, textile whitener and sulphuric acid to make milk cakes," said an official from the Delhi government requesting anonymity.
"Similarly, fermented and spurious unsold sweets, collected from sweets shops of the city, are mixed with chemicals and other substances and then fried to make sweets such as 'Doda barfi'," he explained.
The Delhi government is also conducting raids in various parts of the city to prevent milk adulteration.
"These raids are a part of our routine exercise to check any kind of adulteration in milk or milk products. This year, there haven't been many instances, but in the past, we have penalised small-time traders for unfair practices in sweet making," said Dr AK Walia, Delhi health minister.
"Last year, I bought two kilograms of ras malai for my family. When we opened it by the evening, the milk had split. It was such a mood spoiler, " said Nupur Satnam, who lives in Green Park.
Lajpat Nagar resident Kalayani Kamra had a similar experience with Khoya Barfi.
"I bought five kilograms for consumption at home from this big sweet shop in my area. I felt so embarrassed when a relative said that she could feel the taste of sugar crystals and milk powder granules in the barfee, and that I had not prepared the sweet well," she said.
"Next day, when I went to complain, the sweetmaker said that maintaining quality during festivities wasn't possible.
He, however, denied the use of powdered milk," she said.
To avoid stomach upsets and nausea, it best to eat home cooked sweets or just satiate your desire with a fistful of dry fruits or fresh fruits, which are nutritious, healthy and safe.