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Adulterant is a fraudulent practice by adding a product of lesser value to another product, which is then sold or given for what it is not (eg adding water to milk, or addition of a poor quality oil in olive oil sold as good quality).

Generally speaking about adulteration of food products (oil, coffee, fruit juice, honey, lemon juice, sauces, milk / butter … ), but this word can also designate fraudulent alterations of chemicals (solid , liquid, gas (eg natural gas), fuel such as oil or diesel …)

It may happen that the additive (known adulterant ) is toxic.


Several methods are used to detect the adulterated product, including

  • observation of qualities, taste, microscopic observation

  • the analytical chemistry (many methods , including spectroscopy)

  • enzymatic analysis

  • dosages of hormones, residues (pesticides, medicines, etc.)

  • genetic analysis

  • observation under UV

  • isotopic analysis (which can sometimes identify the precise geographical origin of the product fraudulently added )

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