Healthy and safe eating begins with choosing what foods you buy.

So, let us start with buying food from the market.


FOODS (with illustrations)

  • DO buy
  • DON’T buy

Fruits & Vegetables


  • Fresh,seasonal and locally available vegetables and fruits at the right stage of maturity


  • Green leafy vegetables that are crisp and fresh.The darker the colour, the better it is in terms of nutrition benefits


  • Fruits that are firm to touch, unblemished, fresh and clean. In case of citrus fruits, choose juicy and succulent ones, which are heavy for their size
  • Roots and tubers that are firm to touch.


Fig 1a

  • Overripe, blemished/darkened, bruised or insect infested vegetables and fruits


  • Green leafy vegetables with wilted or yellow leaves, mushy texture, unpleasant odour, slimy, fuzzy or mouldy growth
  • Fruits that are pulpy, shrivelled and overripe/rotting


  • Roots and tubers that are shrivelled, soft/pulpy,green and sprouted



Fig 1b



  • Eggs with shells that are clean and intact




Fig 2a: Clean eggs

  • Eggs with shells that are dirty and discoloured, or soiled with droppings.
  • Eggs with cracked shells
  • Eggs that float in water
  • Broken eggs with blood spot/meat spot/foul odour

Fig 2b: Dirty/broken eggs

Meat, Poultry, Fish



  • Fish with gills that areĀ  intact, bright and pink in colour


  • Fish with clear eyes and flesh that bounces back when pressed with a finger




Meat & Poultry

  • Meat that has pink flesh
  • Lean meat with less cartilage and bone
  • If purchasing pre-cut or packaged meat, check the temperature of the chilled storage unit.
  • Check that the ‘Best before’ date has not lapsed.


Fig 3a: Fresh meat, poultry and fish


Fish with:

  • Dull, sunken eyes
  • Grey or green gills
  • Foul odour
  • Flabby flesh that separates from the bones
  • Very few scales left on the flesh
  • With flesh on which depression remains when pressed with a finger

Meat & Poultry

Meat and poultry with:

  • Tough, fibrous flesh with more fat and bone
  • Discolouration
  • Putrid smell
  • Slimy appearance and touch


Fig 3b: Rotten meat, poultry and fish

Milk and milk products

  • Pasteurised milk and milk products, as they are safer


  • Packaged and sealed milk or milk from authorised milk depots
  • Fresh cheese and cottage cheese or paneer, preferably packaged and sealed, if purchasing from the market


  • It is preferable to prepare curd at home. If purchasing, buy packaged curd.Check the date of manufacture and ensure that ‘Best before’ date has not lapsed.


  • Unpasteurised milk


  • Milk that is discoloured, stringy, sour in taste or curdled, with unnatural odour
  • Loose milk and curd


  • Cheese and cottage cheese or paneer that is slimy to touch, has creamy yellowish discolouration, or bad odour
  • If the packaging of the product is not sealed properly, or is puffed


  • If expiry date or ‘best before’ date on the packet has lapsed

Fig 4b: spoiled milk, cheese and cottage cheese

Frozen Foods


  • Large amounts of ice crystals,discolouration, off smell
  • If packaging is soiled, leaking or damaged


Fig 5b: spoiled frozen vegetables and meat

  • Buy only packaged frozen foods and check that the date of expiry has not lapsed.


  • Thaw only as much quantity as you need.

Fig 5a: fresh frozen vegetables and meat

Fats and Oils;
Oil seeds and Nuts


  • Preferably packaged fats, oils and ghee


  • Preferably packaged oil seeds and nuts with packaging intact


Fig 6a: Packaged oil and ghee and nuts

  • Oils sold loose, especially mustard oil
  • Nuts and oilseeds/powders with rancid smell
  • Insect infested/ mouldy groundnuts


Fig 6b: Loose sample oil and ghee and spoiled nuts

Pulses and Cereals: wheat flour (atta), rice, semolina
(sooji) etc.

  • Preferably packaged and sealed grains
  • Fortified wheat flour and rice
  • Even sized and clean grains.

Fig 7a: Packets of wheat and rice with fortified logo

Grains with:

  • Clumps, musty or cottony growth,
  • Unpleasant odour
  • Stones, dirt
  • Insect infestation

Fig 7b: Packets of wheat and rice with fortified logo-spoiled grains

Canned/ Bottled Foods

  • Intact packets
  • Sealed bottles
  • Foods with uniform colour and consistency
  • Check dates of manufacture and expiry



Fig 8a: packaged and bottled food

  • Deflated packets (with less air), suspended impurities, dented, bulging, and leaking packets/cans.


  • Packets having contents with putrid smell, brine/ syrup, or which look cloudy/ bubbly or slimy.

Fig 8b: damaged packaged and bottled food

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