Why hydroponic foods are good for you

Why hydroponic foods are good for you

Why hydroponic foods are good for you

Our food systems are constantly evolving every day. Innovations like vegan meats and NutriLock technology are already transforming our food systems.  These innovations not only improve the nutritional adequacy of food, and its taste but also address sensitive issues like food carbon emissions and food shortage. Hydroponics is one such technology that is gaining in popularity in recent times. Let us know here, the benefits of consuming Hydroponics grown foods.

By Richa Pande

Hydroponics is derived from two Greek words ‘hydro’ meaning water, and ‘ponos’ meaning work. It is the technique of growing plants without soil. Yes, you read it right- farming without soil! With the rise in the global population, the demand for food has also constantly increased. To increase food production and prevention of its spoilage by pests, farmers use fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides. Further, to ripen fruits and to aid faster growth of fruits and vegetables, chemicals in the form of ripening agents are used. At the same time, with growing awareness of the health hazards from these chemicals, more and more people are opting for chemical, insecticide, pesticide free food these days. Hydroponics offers a safer option for growing food in the coming times. And if you are not very fond of growing them yourselves, you can purchase them from the growers in your local vicinity.

Let us now understand one by one what are the advantages of consuming foods that are grown hydroponically.

Benefits of hydroponics foods 

  1. Products using hydroponics techniques could be made available to you in any season at any time of the year and that too in any geographic area. This is because there is no dependability on a specific soil type, rain, insolation, etc. For example, we can consume strawberries in the summers. You don’t need to buy frozen foods when the fresh foods are available in all the seasons. You can grow/buy foods in small quantities and always have fresh food available.
  2. Uses less water. Yes! This is a proven fact. Hydroponics uses less water as compared to plants grown in soil. Hydroponic plants use 98 per cent less water than normal plants. Thus, these plants are helpful in conserving water. This must be seen in the backdrop of the impending global water crisis. It is being predicted that by 2050 drinkable water will be available for less than half of the population of world. As global production is increasing, the demand for water needed for agriculture is increasing too. Also, the yield is more if the food items are grown hydroponically. So, by consuming hydroponically grown foods, you are actually conserving water for future generations and conserving the environment.
  3. Hydroponically grown foods are safer for you as they are free from chemicals like pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides, that are not good for your health if consumed regularly. They can cause chronic illnesses like cancer. Some of them can get stored in your body’s fat cells and can get released when you start losing weight and begin to cause symptoms.

Where to get hydroponically grown foods? 

You can buy hydroponic grown food from your local sellers. You can access the details of these sellers from their websites by just typing hydroponics plant and your city name/locality name in the search engine and check relevant details.

Can you grow these foods on your own?

You can purchase hydroponic DIY kits if you are fascinated by this technique and are planning to set your own hydroponics system. These can be easily set indoors as well on the roofs, and in your garden. Some of them can even fit into your balconies. The DIY kits for hydroponics can be purchased from e-commerce websites as well as local suppliers. Sellers often provide tutorials to setup the hydroponics system and to grow your own produce. Some suppliers can help us in developing an understanding about –

  1. Temperature control while growing different kind of produce
  2. Equipment set-up and requirements
  3. Root replacements
  4. Nutrient water preparation for different foods
  5. Oxygen supply (i.e., air pumps set-up)
  6. Other details about the product we wish to grow.

Initially, you might need a professional guidance or even training sessions because you are learning a new concept. But with time you can learn to grow food items that we need as per your convenience. Imagine foods you wish to eat can be grown in your own gardens/ balconies. You don’t have to depend on others to supply it or worry about food safety.  Isn’t that fascinating, isn’t that empowering?

Tips to keeping the nutritive essence intact in your food

Tips to keeping the nutritive essence intact in your food

Tips to keeping the nutritive essence intact in your food


The nutritional content of a meal is determined not only by the ingredients but also by the method how it is prepared.  For example, while preparing rice when we discard the starch, we also drain out Vitamin B present in rice, a water-soluble vitamin which we need to consume daily. Likewise, adding lemon to food preparations while cooking them might enhance the flavor of the recipe but it destroys Vitamin C in lemon juice, which is heat sensitive. Vitamin C too is a water-soluble vitamin we need to take daily and has a lot of beneficial effects including enhancement of iron absorption. So, it is a better idea to add lemon juice to the recipes after cooking them and when they have cooled down. In this article, we bring to you some similar cooking and handling tips that can help to retain the nutritive essence of the food items you prepare, which can ultimately have beneficial effects on your health.

Cooking food makes it more palatable and kills harmful pathogens that could be present in raw food. Cooking does not only change the appearance and texture of the food but also the nutrients present in it.  Simple processes like washing and peeling fruits and vegetables remove dirt and microbes from them but also reduce the fiber content of the food, which has many beneficial effects. Cooking   methods   such   as   boiling, steaming, pressure   cooking, frying, roasting and baking increase the acceptability and palatability of the food but heat sensitive vitamins are destroyed during these cooking processes. It is almost impossible to retain all the nutrients in food items. Nutrients are lost during the harvest, transport, storage, and cooking. But there are ways to minimize the nutrient loss from food after we purchase them. Let us understand how-

A.  Tips to retain the nutrients before cooking them –

  1. Use those food items that were procured first. Arrange the refrigerator shelf in this manner- previously procured fruits and veggies ahead or on top of newly procured fruits and veggies. This way you will pick the older ones when using them. 
  2. Prefer peeling the vegetables after cooking them whenever it is possible. For Example- like potato and brinjal. This prevents the nutrient loss.
  3. Store food containing fats such as ghee, edible oils, butter, nuts, etc. in cool and dark place. Poly Unsaturated Fats are susceptible to oxidation and can become rancid. Once opened, they must be consumed in few days and must be kept in air-tight containers.
  4.  Keep fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, juices, and milkshakes away from light as they have nutrients liable to spoilage from light. Use opaque containers and paper packaging or bee wax food wraps to do so. 
  5. Do not store cut fruits and vegetables for long. This causes nutrition loss. If you prefer storing cut vegetables and fruits, use NutriLock Bags for storing them.

NutriLock Bags

These days Nutrilock bags are available in the market. It follows the principle of vacuum packaging. In vacuumed condition, in absence of oxygen, fruits and vegetables can be stored for longer time as there is no enzymatic or minimum enzymatic reaction that can occur (the one you see in apples). It helps to retain natural color of fruits and vegetables and off odor development is minimal. Also, the respiration rate is low which provides longer shelf life to foods.

What are bee wax food wraps?

Beeswax food wraps are reusable and sustainable alternative to single-use plastic wraps. They are considered environment-friendly compared to plastic wraps and aluminum foils. Bee wax wraps are breathable and help to store food by keeping it fresh and thus reducing food wastage. They can also be used to cover a container. Recently, research work published in the Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Food Sciences suggests that beeswax food wraps are also helpful in prevention of microbial contamination in foods and prevent food spoilage. Compared to single-use plastics, they require maintenance, and are required to be cleaned properly after each use. Beeswax wraps are not seal-tight, very but are wonderful to stock leftover cut fruits and vegetables like- cabbage, melons, etc.

B.  Tips to retain the nutrients while cooking the food –

  1. Waterless cooking, steaming, pressure cooking stir-frying and microwaving are some cooking methods that have found to be most efficient cooking methods in terms of nutrient retention. 
  2. Prefer steaming over boiling fruits and vegetables.
  3.  Use as little water as possible when boiling the food. Cook vegetables in smaller amounts of water to reduce the loss of vitamin C and B vitamins. This way you minimize the loss of water -soluble nutrients. Liquids left in the pan after cooking vegetables should not be discarded. Rather it should be added to the recipe. This way you are adding the nutrients back in the recipe.
  4. Do not use baking soda while cooking vegetables. It is used in some households to maintain color of the vegetables but can cause Vitamin C & some B Complex Vitamins loss.
  5. Whenever possible, food must be cooked in covered utensils to prevent loss of nutrients. This way you also save cooking fuel.
  6. Cooking   methods   such   as   germination   enhances   the   bioavailability   of Vitamin C   and   B-complex Vitamins. Consumption of pulses in   this form is easier   to   digest   as   it   reduces   the   protein   inhibitors   and   other factors that inhibits digestion of pulses and causes flatulence. Germination also increases dietary fiber content and enhances the bioavailability of vitamins.
  7. Shallow frying requires lesser oil hence it must be preferred over deep frying as the calories of a food product can be directly reduced by practicing this method.  
  8. Frying   involves   cooking   food   in   oils   at   very   high temperatures which leads to creation of trans fats and polar compounds in them. Repeated heating of oils leads to formation of toxic compounds in the oil which have an adverse effect on health. Hence the oil must not be reheated more than 2-3 times.
  9. Microwaves are used to reheat the food items, but it is important to mix the food properly during reheating so that all the microbes, if any, present in the food can be destroyed. 
  10. For individuals who seek convenience, cut fruits/cut vegetables packed in NutriLock packaging which are in trend these days. Frozen vegetables too can be thawed and steamed and be consumed with minimal nutrient loss.  
  11. Use spices to replace salt in your recipes. To make your recipes a little healthier, use this simple trick. This can help to cut our salt consumption as recommended by WHO for Indians. You can use low-sodium salts as well but make sure not to add more quantities of it compared to the regular salt that you use for cooking. 


Preparing meals with some herbs and spices can add color, aroma and taste to our recipes without adding much salt and oil. 


Dried mixture of herbs like oregano and parsley, dried mustard leaves, dried fenugreek leaves, and dried fruits and vegetables like dried tomatoes, dried raw mango, dried chilies, etc. can help you add taste to the recipes.

How to remove pesticides from your fruits and vegetables if you do not wish to peel your fruits and vegetables for nutrient retention?

Majority of the pesticide residues (about 75-80%) could be removed by washing the fruits and vegetables in cold water properly. You can further wash them in 2% salt water to remove the pesticide residue. 

How to prepare 2% salt water?
  1. Take a 1 litre water bottle. Fill it up with water.
  2. Add 4 levelled teaspoon of salt in this 1 litre of water. 
  3.  2% salt water is now ready. 
  4. Wash your fruits and vegetable in this water.

C.  Storage tips to maximise nutrition retention in cooked foods-

  • Refrigerate prepared food leftovers as quickly as it is possible, preferably within 2 hours and consume them within 2-3 days.
  • Try to eat cooked vegetables and recipes containing fruits and vegetables within a day or two, as their vitamin content may continue to decline when the cooked food is exposed to air.
  1. Be mindful to keep raw foods and cooked foods separately in the refrigerator. Bacteria from raw food can contaminate cold cooked food and can cause food spoilage and food diseases.

To sum up, as we have seen, choosing a cooking method is as important as other food choices we make to be healthy.  Cooking practices can both enhance and decrease the nutritive value of the food items. It’s up to us to make the most of the food we prepare and eat and retain its nutritive essence. 

Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice

Looking for more than a grain of truth

There is rice and more rice, and there is basmati. Some would say eating basmati rice is a complete  sensual experience. There is appetite-inducing aroma, visual appeal, great taste, and an utter and  inexplicable sense of fulfilment. And no, you won’t call this exaggeration. As they say, the proof of  the basmati is in the eating – or, shall we say that the proof is in the grain? After all, basmati rice is  essentially about its long grains and the magic they stir up. However, all grains are not made equal.  As the following report will tell you, there can be all sorts of flaws with grains. There is a minimum  precooked and post-cooking grain length that determines the quality of the rice. One may also have  to contend with broken and fragments grains, damaged/discoloured grains, etc. In an inferior product,  there may be red-striped grains, green grains, chalky grains, and so on. Then there are safety concerns  of course, mainly relating to possible contamination by heavy metals and presence of pesticide  residues. Keeping the relevant standards as reference point, we tested 12 leading brands of basmati  rice on the above-mentioned parameters as well as other key quality determinants.

A Consumer Voice Report

Acrucial aspect of the test programme was DNA analysis of the samples to detect any adulteration with non-basmati rice. Other key parameters included grain length/breadth ratio, average precooked grain length and elongation ratio. The samples were also checked for presence of broken and fragments grains, damaged/discoloured grains, chalky grains, green grains, other grains, moisture, uric acid, aflatoxins and foreign matter (such as dust and stones). A major health-related parameter was presence of the heavy metals lead and arsenic, as well as pesticide residues.

The tests were conducted at an NABL-accredited laboratory and as per requirements specified in Agmark  Rules (Cereals Grading & Marking Rules) and FSS Regulations for rice. Note that Food Safety and  Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has no specific standard for basmati rice. Agmark has standards  for Dehradun- and Saharanpur-grown basmati rice as well for basmati rice of export quality. 

In the absence of specific standards for domestic trade of basmati rice, we have taken Agmark standards  for export quality as reference standard for evaluation. Here it must be mentioned that none of the tested  brands bears Agmark grading.

Basmati is a type of long-grain aromatic rice. In view of its unique cooking and eating properties, it is  perceived to be a premium kind of rice. With effect from 5 February 2016, basmati rice is a registered  GI (geographical indication) product. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development  Authority (APEDA), as registered proprietor of the GI, is responsible for putting in place a system for  administration of GI and authentication of the product reaching consumers in India and abroad. 

India is a leading exporter of basmati rice to the global market. During 2016–17, the country exported  4,000,471.56 MT of basmati rice, worth Rs 21,604.58 crore (or US$3,230.24 million).


Brown Rice or White Rice 

All white rice starts out as brown rice. The latter is converted into white rice through a milling process. 

Both white and brown rice are high in carbohydrates. Brown rice, being a whole grain, is generally more  nutritious than white rice. It’s higher in fibre, magnesium and other nutrients. Whole-grain foods may  help reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of stroke, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes.

Brands Tested

RankTotal Score
out of 100
MRP (Rs)Net
Best beforeManufactured/
Marketed by
1301kg24 MonthsFuture Consumer Ltd
92Lal QillaClassic
1501kg36 MonthsAmar Singh Chawal
89PatanjaliSpecial1251kg24 MonthsPatanjali Ayurved Ltd
1601kg36 MonthsTilda Hain India Pvt.
87AsbahSilver1351kg24 MonthsDCP India (P) Ltd
87India GateTibar1321kg24 MonthsKRBL Ltd
84DaawatDevaaya95 (free Rs 20
Paytm cash)
1kg24 MonthsLT Foods Ltd
Organic1901kg12 MonthsMehrotra Consumer
Products Pvt. Ltd
81Aeroplane11211701kg24 MonthsAmir Chand Jagdish
Kumar (Exports) Ltd
76HeritageDubar1001kg24 MonthsLT Foods Ltd
991kg24 MonthsKohinoor Speciality
Foods India Pvt. Ltd
62FortuneRozana951kg24 MonthsAdani Wilmar Ltd

Score Rating: >90: very good*****, 71–90: good****, 51–70: fair***, 31–50: poor**, up to 30: very poor*

CV Recommendations

Top Performer

Golden Harvest | Lal Qilla

Value for Money Brand


Key findings

  • Based on the overall test findings, Golden Harvest and Lal Qilla are the top performers.
    • The value-for-money brand is Patanjali.
    • Golden Harvest and Lal Qilla are pure basmati rice, with no trace of any other variety of rice.• In DNA testing, Kohinoor and Fortune were found having 36.60 per cent and 32.86 per cent non-
    basmati rice, respectively – this indicates relatively high adulteration.• Tilda is the top performer in the sensory panel tests. The least preferred brand is Heritage.
    • Broken and fragments rice quantity was quite high in Fortune (45.7 per cent), Heritage (36.8 per
    cent) and Kohinoor (22.15 per cent).
    • Lead content was detected in Daawat (0.6 ppm) and Fortune (0.3 ppm) – both are above the specified
    limit of 0.2 ppm.
    • Organic Tattva, an organic product, was found having the pesticide pretilachlor (0.01ppm), thereby
    not meeting the requirement of FSS Regulations.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) testing can help to determine if the parent and child are biologically related. Similarly, in the case of basmati rice, DNA test can help determine its purity. The test can detect adulteration with non-basmati rice. Presence of inferior varieties of rice is considered as adulteration. The admixture of common rice in basmati rice shall not exceed limits prescribed in Agmark. None of the 12 brands have either taken Agmark or declared their grade/origin of harvest. Therefore, we have considered the highest tolerance limit specified in Agmark standard – it is 20 per cent for Grade B.

As per Agmark standard, in basmati rice (for Dehradun area) any non-basmati rice including red grains shall be a maximum 1.0 per cent, 2.0 per cent and 4.0 per cent for special, A and B grades, respectively; for Saharanpur area it shall be a maximum 3.0 per cent, 7.0 per cent and 10.0 per cent for special, A and B grades, respectively. For export quality, other rice including red grains in basmati rice shall be a maximum 10 per cent, 15 per cent and 20 per cent for special, A and B grades, respectively.

(percentage of
non-basmati rice
Score out
of 25
Golden Harvest0.0%25.0
Lal Qilla0.0%25.0
Organic Tattva6.40%20.2
India Gate8.41%18.69



Broken and Fragments Grains | Grain Length/Breadth (L/B) Ratio | Moisture | Protein | Carbohydrates | Energy | Elongation Ratio | Uric Acid | Aflatoxins | Foreign Matter | Damaged, Discoloured Grains | Average Precooked Grain Length | Other Grains | Chalky Grains | Under-milled/Red-stripped Grains | Green Grains


Moisture generally refers to the presence of water in a product. It is an important factor in retaining a product’s quality, preservation and resistance to deterioration. As per FSS Regulations for rice, moisture content shall not be more than 16 per cent by weight.
• Moisture content in all the brands was within the specified limit.
• The lowest moisture content was in India Gate (11.1 per cent). Patanjali was found with higher moisture content (12.5 per cent).


Protein is an essential nutrient. It plays an important role in cellular maintenance, growth and functioning of the human body. Protein is inherently found in all cereals including rice. While there is no standard requirement for protein in rice, a higher quantity is desirable. It should be as per the declared value on the product label.
• The highest amount of protein was found in Fortune (9.3 per cent) and the lowest in Kohinoor (7.4 per cent).
• Protein in Lal Qilla was less than the declared value.

The Truth Is in the Grains

Broken and Fragments Grains

‘Broken’ denotes pieces of kernels that are less than three-fourth of a whole kernel. Pieces smaller than one-fourth of the whole kernel are to be treated as ‘fragments’. For export quality, these shall be a maximum 5.0 per cent, 10 per cent and 10 per cent for special, A and B grades, respectively.
• Golden Harvest had zero percentage of broken rice.
• The percentage of broken and fragments grains in Fortune, Heritage and Kohinoor was significantly high at 45.7 per cent, 36.8 per cent and 22.15 per cent, respectively. These three brands – none of which had taken Agmark, which is a voluntary standard – clearly did not meet the requirement of Agmark standard.

Grain Length/Breadth (L/B) Ratio

After cooking, the basmati rice should show equivalent breadth-wise expansion but better length-wise expansion to give it a finer look. For export-quality basmati rice, grain length/breadth shall be a minimum 3.5.

• All the brands met the grain length/breadth requirement mandated for export quality.
• Aeroplane and Lal Qilla scored highest on this parameter.

Elongation Ratio

Kernel elongation after cooking is an important character of fine rice. For export-quality basmati rice, elongation ratio shall be a minimum 1.7.
• Elongation ratio for all brands was above the requirement for export quality. It was highest in Golden Harvest (2.40) and Lal Qilla (2.32).

Average Precooked Grain Length

For export-quality basmati rice, average precooked grain length shall be a minimum 7.1 per cent, 7.0 per cent and 6.8 per cent for special, A and B grades, respectively.
• Most of the brands met the requirement of export quality. The most length was of Aeroplane (8.6 mm) and Lal Qilla (8.46 mm).

Damaged, Discoloured Grains

These are internally damaged or discoloured (including black grains), materially affecting the quality. As per Agmark standard for basmati rice (Dehradun area), damaged, discoloured grains shall be a maximum 0.25 per cent, 0.50 per cent and 0.75 per cent for special, A and B grades, respectively; for Saharanpur area, it shall be a maximum 0.25 per cent, 0.35 per cent and 0.75 per cent for special, A and
B grades, respectively.
• India Gate and Patanjali did not have any damaged, discoloured grains. In the other brands these varied between 0.05 per cent and 0.5 per cent.

Other Grains

As per the national standard for export-quality rice, ‘other grains’ shall be a maximum 0.1 per cent, 0.1 per cent and 0.2 per cent for special, A and B grades, respectively.
• None of the brands had other grains.

Chalky Grains

Chalky grain is grain at least half of which is milky white in colour and brittle in nature.
• Golden Harvest, India Gate and Aeroplane did not have chalky grains.
• The highest percentage (1.45) of chalky grains was found in Heritage and Lal Qilla.

Under-milled/Red-striped Grains

Under-milled grain is one whose bran portion is not completely removed during polishing or which has substantial bran streaks left on it. Red grains are the kernels, whether whole or broken, which have 25 per cent or more of their surface coated with red bran.
• None of the brands had under-milled or red-striped grains.

Green Grains

These are grains that are not properly developed or are green in colour.
• None of the brands had green grains.


Carbohydrates are a source of energy. They are the sugars, starches and fibres found in grains, fruits, vegetables and milk products. There is no requirement
for carbohydrates in rice, though these should be as per the declared value on product label.
• Carbohydrates percentage was highest in Lal Qilla (79.6) and lowest in Tilda (77.5).
• Carbohydrate amount in Tilda and Heritage was found to be slightly less than the claimed value.


Energy value is the amount of calories which our body obtains from food. The source of energy in rice is from carbohydrates, fats, etc. The total energy (per 100 gm of sample calculated in kcal) was compared with the declared value. While there is no standard requirement for energy in rice, a higher amount of it is considered to be better. Besides, it should be as per the declared value on product label.
• Among the tested brands, energy value was highest in India Gate (354.4 kcal/100 gm) and lowest in Tilda (342.5 kcal/100 gm).

• Energy value was less than the claimed value in Tilda, Heritage, Aeroplane and Lal Qilla.

Below Detection Limit

Uric Acid

• Uric acid shall not be more than 100 mg per kg. It was not detected (detection limit being 10 mg/kg) in any of the brands.


• Aflatoxins are carcinogenic substances that may affect rice quality to a great extent. These shall not be more than 30 micrograms per kilogram of rice. In the 12 tested brands, aflatoxins were below detection limit (detection limit being 1.7 ug/kg)

Foreign Matter

Foreign matter includes dust, stones, lumps of earth, chaff, straw and any other impurity. As per FSS Regulations for rice, foreign matter and damaged grains shall not be more than six per cent by weight.
• Foreign matter was not detected in any of the brands.

Parameter Weightage
Lal QillaPatanjaliTilda
Variety/TypePremiumClassic whitelineSpecialPremium
Broken and fragments grains88.07.947.867.92
Grain length/breadth (L/B) ratio53.884.253.994.16
Moisture content43.383.473.33.41
Elongation ratio32.852.732.482.61
Uric Acid33333
Foreign matter22222
Damaged, discoloured grains21.941.942.01.88
Average precooked grain length21.621.941.591.66
Other grains11111
Chalky grains11.00.890.920.93
Under-milled/red-stripped grains11111
Green grains11111


Heavy metals contamination in agricultural soil is a potential environmental threat to the safety of agricultural food crops such as rice. We carried out tests to check for the presence of lead and arsenic. In this regard, FSS Regulations has specified limits for rice. There are no standards for organic rice, though. Lead in cereal grain (rice) should not exceed 0.2 mg/ kg. As for arsenic, it shall not be more than 1.1 mg/kg.
• Lead content in Daawat and Fortune was found to be above the specified limit.
• All of the brands were within the limit specified for arsenic.
Arsenic can be easily accumulated by all types of cereals, largely because of the high bioavailability of arsenic under reduced soil conditions.

AsbahIndia GateDaawatOrganic TatvaAeroplaneHeritageKohinoorFortune
SilverTibarDevaayaOrganic1121DubarEveryday Basmati RiceRozana


Pesticide Residues

Pesticide is a chemical or biological agent that deters, incapacitates, kills, or otherwise discourages pests. Pesticide exposure can cause a variety of adverse health effects such as skin and eye irritation; it also affects the nervous system,
mimicking hormones causing reproductive problems. It has been linked to birth defects and cancer as well.
We conducted tests for residues of 37 pesticides as per requirements of Food Safety and Standards Regulations 2011.Traces of the pesticide tricyclazole were found in Kohinoor but it was within the specified limit.
Traces of the pesticide pretilachlor were found in Organic Tattva, which means it did not meet the standard requirement.
Pesticides in other brands were found below the detection limit of 0.01 mg/kg.


Panellists judged the sensory attributes of the basmati rice on these attributes: fragrance/aroma, appearance, size of kernel, colour, texture and taste.

Rice shall be free from abnormal flavours, odours, living insects and mites. Raw rice was boiled in water and judged for their sensory attributes. The expert panel assigned scores on a 10-point scale and mean score was taken for evaluation and scoring.

BrandScore out of 12
Golden Harvest9.85
India Gate9.63
Organic Tattva9.25
Lal Qilla8.51


Tilda was the most liked brand among panellists, and was followed by Golden Harvest.
• Heritage was the least favoured among all tested brands.



The following details shall be marked on the product label:
a) Name of the commodity and variety
b) Name of manufacturer/marketer
c) Batch or code number
d) Net weight
e) Date of packing and year of harvest
f) The words ‘Best before’
g) Grade if brand has Agmark certification

h) MRP
i) Green dot (to denote vegetarian status)
j) FSSAI license number
k) Customer-care details
• All brands had provided the required information.
None of brands have taken Agmark and given
their grade.

Net Weight

Samples from all brands were verified for net weight as per the quantity claimed. The net weight should be within the tolerance limit permitted in Legal Metrology Rules. Net weight of all the tested brands was found as claimed and they scored equally well on this parameter.


The rice shall be packed in containers made of jute, cotton or paper. These shall be clean, dry and in sound condition. Further, containers that have been previously used for commodities likely to cause damage or import any obnoxious flavor, odour, or other undesirable characteristics to the rice shall not be employed.
• All brands had flexible plastic packing.
Dear readers: We are open to hearing your suggestions on products and services that you believe should be reviewed/ tested by Team Consumer Voice. You may write to editorial@


Nutritional Value of Rice

Nutritional Value of Rice

Nutritional Value of Rice


Post harvesting, rice grains go through different production processes in the factories. The process leads to production of different types of rice. These processes are called milling and polishing. These processes not only changes the shape and size of the rice kernel, it also changes its nutritional value.
Harvested rice grains have an outermost hard layer called hull. This has to be removed to make the editable. This could be done at the farm or at the factory.



The outermost layer of rice, called the hull, is removed from the harvested kernel. Once the hull is removed we get brown rice. So we can say that the brown rice is rice with the whole kernel intact.


Brown rice is surrounded by all layers of bran. Rice bran is an excellent source of dietary fiber. It also contains vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, iron, phosphorus, manganese and is a good source of potassium, zinc and copper. It has low sodium and sugar content.


When brown rice goes through the milling process it becomes white in color. In milling, the bran layers of rice are milled off. Milling is a abrasive grinding process. Most of the rice germ is also removed during this process. Rice at this stage is called milled, unpolished white rice.


Milling removes a considerable amount of vitamin B and E, some minerals and proteins. Thus milled, unpolished rice mainly has carbohydrates and proteins. The dietary fiber content of milled rice is substantially lesser as compared to the brown rice.


The unpolished rice is passed through a wire brush machine. This process removes the aleurone layer that remains on the rice. This step is called polishing. A partly polished grain might contain some aleurone, this is called semi-polished rice.


Polished rice is about 90 percent carbohydrate, 8 percent protein and 2 percent fat. It is a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, iron, folic acid, thiamine and niacin.

The bran, germ, and aleurone layers of rice contain most of the fat content found in rice and are the source of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E as well as many other nutrients. If the high-fat components of the rice grain are left intact, the shelf life of the rice greatly declines; this is partly the motivation for manufacturers to remove the bran, germ, and aleurone layers of rice, although this process reduces its nutritional value.

Consumer VOICE experts tested 12 brands of  basmati rice on basis of grain length/breadth ratio, average precooked grain length,  elongation ratio and most importantly DNA analysis was conducted to check the adulteration of pure basmati with non-basmati rice.  Click to know complete results for the best basmati rice.

What is Basmati Rice and how is different from other varieties?

What is Basmati Rice and how is different from other varieties?

What is Basmati Rice and how is different from other varieties?

Basmati Rice


Basmati is a type of long-grain aromatic rice.  Basmati rice is a special quality of rice that is grown in India and Pakistan. Basmati rice has a unique fragrance and flavor caused due to presence of a chemical called 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline. This chemical is found in Basmati rice at about 90 ppm (part per million), which is 12 times more than non-basmati rice varieties.

With effect from 5 February 2016, basmati rice is a registered GI (geographical indication) product. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), as registered proprietor of the GI, is responsible for putting in place a system for administration of GI and authentication of the product reaching consumers in India and abroad.

It is grown for many centuries in the specific geographical area, at the Himalayan foothills of Indian sub-continent, blessed with characteristics as extra- long slender grains that elongate at least twice of their original size with a characteristics soft and fluffy texture upon cooking, delicious taste, superior aroma and distinct flavor. Agro- climatic conditions of the specific geographical area as well as method of harvesting, processing and aging attribute these characteristic features to Basmati rice. Owing to its unique characteristics the “ scented Pearl” lends a touch of class that can transform even the most ordinary meal into a gourmet’s delight. Basmati is also available in white or brown versions, depending on the extent of the milling process.


The areas of Basmati Rice production in India are in the states of J & K, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand and western Uttar Pradesh.


India is the leading exporter of the Basmati Rice to the global market. The country has exported 40,00,471.56 MT of Basmati Rice to the world for the worth of Rs. 21,604.58 crores (or 3,230.24 US$ Mill.) during the year 2016-17

Major Export Destinations (2016-17): Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Kuwait.


Grain size and shape

Basmati is a long grain rice. The non-basmati rice comes in all different shapes and sizes- long, slender, short and thick, bead and round.


Basmati has a characteristic fragrance and flavor. It contains a chemical compound called 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline which gives it aroma. Whereas non-basmati varieties, doesn’t have an aroma.


Like wine and cheese, the older it gets the better flavor and aroma it would extract. Hence the aged Basmati costs higher than the recent productions.

Post cooking elongation

Basmati rice becomes almost double its size on cooking. Such a significant increase in size cannot be seen in non-basmati varieties. This makes it one of the highly demanded rice in the world.


Cooked grains of Basmati rice are characteristically free flowing rather than sticky.


Yield of basmati rice from the agricultural land is almost half the non-basmati varieties. This is also one of the reasons for its higher costs.
Basmati is grown only in the Himalayan region of India or few parts of Pakistan whereas non-basmati varieties could be grown anywhere in the world.  

More breakage

Long and slender grains of basmati are more prone to breakage in the production process which involves milling and polishing of rice grain.

Consumer VOICE experts tested 12 brands of  basmati rice on basis of grain length/breadth ratio, average precooked grain length,  elongation ratio and most importantly DNA analysis was conducted to check the adulteration of pure basmati with non-basmati rice.  Click to know complete results for the best basmati rice.

Is salt good or bad for you? Its’ both!

Is salt good or bad for you? Its’ both!

Is salt good or bad for you? Its’ both!


A simple yet very important ingredient like salt these days is available in different variations including iodized, low-sodium, rock salt, double fortified salt, etc. What is their significance? Is rock salt healthier than the normal salt? Will reducing salt make you iodine deficient? Does salt have only culinary and taste purposes or is it important for your health as well? Learn about these and much more in this article.

Richa Pande

Salt has been an integral part of our lives since time immortal. It enhances the flavour of our recipe, making it more palatable. Salt has also been used extensively and effectively used for food preservation. Salt can prevent growth of the bacteria in food preventing food spoilage. Therefore, pickles last so long. Historically, salt has always been accorded high value. This is why salt was taxed extensively throughout the world and high taxations on salt have caused revolts like that against Gabelle Tax in France in 1789 and the Salt Satyagrah led by Gandhiji in 1930 in India.

So does salt, have any health utility? Let’s try to understand.

Salt contains 40 per cent sodium ion(Na +) and 60 per cent chloride ion(Cl), by weight. Now why are these important for human body? Salt is the biggest contributor of sodium in our diet. Therefore, many times we use sodium as a synonym for common salt. Sodium and Chlorine are essential minerals required for fluid-electrolyte balance in our body. This is why we feel dehydrated or need to replace the electrolyte loss immediately when we sweat excessively or experience retching/diarrhoeal episodes. These electrolytes are also involved in aiding muscles and nerves to function well. Some studies have also linked low sodium diets with increased insulin resistance as well, but sodium deficiency is very rare due to presence of sodium in a lot of processed foods we eat daily. Salt is a common ingredient used in every household; it has been successfully used for decades for iodine fortification. Salt fortification has played a major role in reduction of iodine deficiency disorder in many counties worldwide.

However, we all know that excessive salt consumption can increase our chances of getting high blood pressure (hypertension), and other cardiovascular diseases. High salt intakes may also increase the growth of Helicobacter Pylori bacteria in our stomach and that can cause inflammation and gastric ulcers. Eating too much salt can also cause calcium deficiency. Therefore, the WHO recommends that adults should not consume more than 2300 mg of sodium, equivalent to 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of salt every day. Interestingly, as per a WHO report, Indians, on an average, consume almost 10 grams of salt every day.

It is therefore essential that we cut the amount of salt in our diet. We need to control our urge to add excessive salt to our recipes, avoid adding table salt to our preparations at home, and distance ourselves from food items with added salt like biscuits, chips, bakery foods, papads, etc. We can refer to food labels on packed products to ascertain how much sodium these items contain and keep 2300 mg of sodium as the upper limit for our daily consumption.

But if we cut the salt intake, will we become deficient in iodine? Again, let’s try to understand.

It is common knowledge that Iodine is an essential mineral and it’s deficiency can cause several health disorders. Salt is a major source of iodine in our diet. Can our attempts to reduce salt intake make us iodine deficient? As per the National Institutes of Health Factsheet on iodine, 3 grams of salt i.e. a bit more than half a teaspoon of iodized salt is sufficient to meet our iodine needs. If someone wishes to cut the salt beyond this limit, then they can still get iodine from other dietary sources such as- seaweed, eggs, dairy products and dried plums, also known as prunes. One must also note that too much consumption of iodine (from iodized salts and other dietary sources) can push someone to develop hyperthyroidism and could worsen it if the person already has hyperthyroidism.

Now let’s know more about different salt varieties in market-

How is Rock Salt & Black Salt different from regular table salt?

Rock salt is known as ‘sendha namak’ in India. Black Salt is a type of rock salt. It is known as Kala Namak in India. Rock Salts contain fewer additives than the regular table salt. For example, it does not contain anti-caking agents which are added in normal salt to prevent forming of lumps in the presence of moisture in the air.

These days some rock salts are combined with sodium and iodine sulphates as well and mixed with charcoal and then heated. If you are looking exclusively for natural salts, check the ingredients list on food labels of the pack.

How is Sea Salt different from regular table salt?

Sea salt is most commonly manufactured by directly evaporating the seawater. Salts labelled as ‘Sea Salt’, these days usually do not undergo any processing or are minimally processed. The good thing about unprocessed sea salt is that it has traces of some minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, etc. in it. But it has some health concerns as well.  Some studies reveal that sea salts can be contaminated with microplastics. Sea salt has also been found to be contaminated by fungi. This can cause food spoilage and could be toxic as well. Table salt on the other hand is processed for iodine fortification and also with the objective of making it free flowing in nature.

What is double fortified salt?

Double fortified salt is available in market these days that contains both iodine and iron. It could be used by anaemics and people desiring to prevent iron deficiency. It must be kept in mind that if you are already taking a lot of iron in your diet from other sources, you should avoid it or use it in rotation with other salts.

What is Low Sodium Salt & Can you use it?

Low -Sodium Salts are also known as salt substitutes. These salts have lower sodium levels which is usually substituted by potassium. These salts are recommended for hypertensive people and research confirms that its consumption could be helpful in lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Based on present evidence, it can be recommended only for pre-hypertensive and hypertensive people. However, more research is needed to establish this viewpoint.

Choose any salt as per your preference but with this cautionary note that it’s best to consume salt in moderation regardless of the type you choose. And if you are planning to switch to rock salt completely, seek a dietitian’s help to include iodine rich sources in your meals because remember iodine is essential for you.