Unreliable eating: Patterns of food adulteration in urban India
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. This article is about food safety and food adulteration in urban India. Situated at the relational interface of foods and their contaminants, it considers ways of thinking and acting at the porous boundaries between bodies and environments. The article details how people attempt to detect where food and its adulteration begins and ends, through ethnographic reflection on several events of adulteration in Mumbai and a context of changing food safety policies in India. The article develops the concept of reliability as a lens onto food politics different than one delimited strictly in terms of consumerism. Reliability refracts the politics of difference at work in times of toxic food environments, in contemporary India and elsewhere, wherein tensions between poison and nourishment take on renewed charges. This framework recasts a choice-focused approach to thinking about food safety by centralizing how living with harm - rather than ridding the world of it, element by element - is what is at stake.
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