AISV President’s Message

A very alarming report on food adulteration and contamination has emerged on the SBS Radio and Television. An exclusive and extensive investigation by SBS has revealed banned imported foods are readily available in supermarkets in Australia and unfit for human consumption.

As part of this investigation, SBS commissioned independent lab testing of a number of imported foods from India and Pakistan available in Australia.

The report found food imported from the subcontinent being sold in South Indian Grocery Stores either not fit for human consumption or very deleterious to the health and welfare of the individuals consuming these imported Indian food products.

  • Kohinoor brand basmati rice found to contain Buprofezin, an insecticide banned in Australia.
  • Popular Indian spice brand MDH found to contain pesticides above the accepted Australian limit.
  • Banned substance Betel Nut readily available for sale in Australia
  • Complan - a powdered milk drink for growing children manufactured by Heinz in India
  • Indus Basmati - rice from Pakistan
  • Verka Ghee - a clarified butter widely used by South Asians in their daily cooking.
An investigation has now uncovered many anomalies at ethnic grocery stores, from changed "best before" dates on labels to hidden ingredients which could harm people suffering allergies.

"Best before" dates had been changed by months, even years, and unlisted ingredients ranged from milk solids to nuts.

Ayurvedic medicines imported from India are no exceptions. Very recently SBS uncovered that a very popular sex enhancing drug Kamini contains a significant amount of codeine and opium, and some experts believe consuming just two tablets will give the user a "hit".

The tragedy is that this drug was as early as 2010 known to the Indian authorities to contain large amounts of Opium. According to newspaper reports a study by the PGI (Post Graduate Institute) had claimed in 2010 that each tablet of Kamini Vidrawan Ras, which was being sold at chemist shops as a herbal formulation, contained 160 mg of pure opium.

PGI's Drug De-addiction and Treatment Centre has since 2008 been seeing young addicts hooked to such herbal formulations. Under the garb of ayurvedic medicines which do not fall under any drug authority regulation, the herbal formulation is sold openly and is abused widely by addicts in the city and its periphery. It was inferred during the study that those addicted to the herbal formulation 'Kamini' on an average consumed 300 mg to 2,400 mg of pure opium from the medicine. The study, 'Herbal Medicines: Perfect Garb for Opioid Abuse? A Case Series from India', was published in The American Journal on Addiction in 2010.

'Kamini tablets' is sold as an aphrodisiac or often as a stimulant by many South Asian grocery stores around Australia, and as alleged to SBS, more and more people are getting addicted to it.

I would like to warn the readers that they need to be very careful in buying food products from Indian stores.

Australia India Society of Victoria is celebrating India’s Republic Day and Australia Day on January 26, 2017. The details of these celebrations appear elsewhere in the newsletter.

I would request you to support AISV by attending this important event.

Finally, I would like to wish our membership and readers a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year

Dr. Gurdip Aurora
President AISV
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