Wheat Flour

  • Posted by CERC India
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All Brands had Pesticide Residues. We tested 13 brands of wheat flour representing the country’s major wheat consuming zones as well as the south. We also tested 3 loose samples of chakki wheat flour.

May-June 2000


All Brands had Pesticide Residues

We tested 13 brands of wheat flour representing the country’s major wheat consuming zones as well as the south. We also tested 3 loose samples of chakki wheat flour. The brands tested were Annapurna, A-One, Brahmins, Manu Bhog, MS, Nice Home, Pillsbury, Rose, Sampoorn, Shakti Bhog, Singh, Super and Uttam. They were tested against specifications of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, Agmark and Codex. Three brands – Sampoorn, Super and Uttam – carried the Agmark stamp.

  • Organochlorine pesticides were found in the samples. All the brands had the pesticide lindane. The PFA Act requires the lindane limit to be nil. DDT banned for use on crops, was found in A-One, Nice Home, Sampoorn, Sindh and Super, Manu Bhog and Pillsbury revealed the presence of aldrin/dieldrin. The PFA Act demands that wheat flour be free of aldrin/dieldrin.
  • Ethion, an organophosphate pesticide which may cause acute toxicity in humans, was found in all the brands except Annapurna, Manu Bhog, Nice Home and Pillsbury.
  • A-One, Nice Home and Sampoorn did not conform to the parameter on rodent/insect infestation as insect matter was found in the samples. Worse, among the three brands, Sampoorn carried the Agmark stamp! Except the three loose samples and MS and Shakti Bhog, all the other brands recorded the presence of sand and dirt.
  • A-One, MS, Nice Home and loose flour-I did not show the minimum protein content as per Codex. The PFA Act, BIS and Agmark are silent on this parameter.
  • Super contained acid insoluble ash above the permissible limit under the IS and Agmark. This indicates the presence of dust, dirt and stones.
  • Sampoorn, Super and Uttam carried the Agmark label and claimed grade-II (the equivalent of low gluten). Although they fulfilled the minimum requirement, they overshot the minimum for high gluten. Gluten gives strength to the flour and high gluten flour is suitable for baking.
  • A-One, MS, Nice Home, Rose, Sampoorn, Shakti Bhog, Super and loose flour-I could not conform to the alcoholic acidity limits of the PFA Act. The PFA Act is lenient here and allows 0.18 per cent of alcoholic acidity while the BIS and Agmark allow only 0.1 per cent. None of the bands conformed to the IS and Agmark standards. Alcoholic acidity indicates age of the flour.
  • MS and Sindh could not conform to the test for granularity according to the IS. Super carried the Agmark stamp but did not conform to Agmark standard for granularity test. Softer wheat gives lower granularity.


  • Loose flour-I scored the highest in sensory parameters which include taste, aroma, falvour etc.. Among the 13 brands, Annapurna and Pillsbury topped the list.
  • All the ‘rotis’ puffed only in the case of Sindh, Super, Uttam and loose flour-I in our tests for convenience-of-use.

Packaging and Labelling

  • Nice Home, Rose, Sampoorn, Shakti Bhog and loose flour-II weighed less than the labelled claims, although within the permitted error.
  • A-One, Brahmins, Nice Home and Sindh did not carry their batch numbers. Sindh did not carry even the manufacturing date.
  • A-One, Nice Home and Shakti Bhog did not carry the expiry date.
  • Only Rose and Super contained detailed nutrition information.
  • rose and Shakti Bhog were the inexpensive brands at Rs.11.60 per kg. Pillsbury was the most expensive at Rs. 17.20 per kg. The loose flour samples were bought at Rs.10 and Rs.12 per kg.
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