1998 Delhi oil poisoning

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In 1998, adulterated mustard oil poisoning in Delhi resulted in widespread dropsy and deaths of 60 people and illness of more than 3000. It was revealed that white oil, a petroleum product was mixed with edible mustard oil.[1] Sale of mustard in loose quantity was banned by a court order, to prevent more health hazards.[2] In September 1998, the ban on packed mustard oil was removed after a Cabinet decision with a condition that the date of packing should be prominently displayed.[3] Even though mustard oil is banned as an edible oil in countries like USA, Canada and EU due its erucic acid content,[4] the oil is widely used as an edible oil in North India, Pakistan and Nepal.

Legal action[edit]

In 1998, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Department booked one trader for adulteration of mustard oil. After a prolonged legal battle, the trader was found guilty and in 2008, was sentenced to two years imprisonment and a ₹5,000 fine.[5]


  1. ^ "Police focus on cooking oil container in Bihar mass poisoning case". Reuters. 20 July 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Sale of loose mustard oil banned,". The Tribune. 27 August 1998. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  3. ^ PTI (20 September 1998). "Delhi Govt to lift ban on mustard oil sale". The Indian Express. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Mustard oil has health risks". The Times of India. 10 June 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Trader gets 2 years' RI for selling adulterated mustard oil". The Times of India. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 21 July 2013.