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Adulteration of food or drink intended for sale (Section 272 of IPC)

In Section 272 of the code, ‘adulteration’ means mixing with any other substance whether wholly different or of the same kind but of inferior quality. The expression ‘noxious as food’ means unwholesome as food or injurious to health and not repugnant to one’s feelings.

It is essential to show that an article of food or drink has been adulterated and that it was intended to sell such article or that it was known that it would be likely to be sold as food or drink.

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A person who mixes harmful ingredients in food or drink shall be punished under Section 272. Mere adulteration with harmless ingredients for the purpose of getting more profit is not punishable under Section 272 e.g., mixing water with milk or ghee with vegetable oil, etc.

A person who mixes pig’s fat with ghee, intending to sell the mixture as food or knowing it to be likely that it will be sold as such cannot be convicted under Section 272 for so doing.

The offence under Section 272 is non-cognizable and summons should ordinarily issue in the first instance. It is bailable but not compoundable and is triable by any Magistrate and may be tried summarily.

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