The section requires that the accused must adulterate any article of food or drink. The adulteration must be such that the article of food or drink becomes noxious. The accused must have intention to sell such a noxious article of food or drink, or must have knowledge that such noxious article of food or drink is likely to be sold as food or drink. Since the adulteration must be to make the article of food or drink noxious, an adulteration which does not make it noxious is not punishable under this section. Adulterating milk with water does not make the milk noxious but only adds to the profit margin of the person adulterating, and consequently this section is not applicable.
Mixing fat with ghee does not entail liability under this section as the ghee does not become noxious by such adulteration. ‘Noxious’ means injurious to health and not repugnant to one’s feelings. This section and the following section are only a very small part of the anti-adulteration law with respect to an article of food and drink, and these naturally served a limited interest. Now the Parliament has enacted a comprehensive law in the form of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 which takes care of the subject of adulteration quite comprehensively. The offence under this section is non-cognizable, bailable and non-compoundable, and is triable by magistrate of the first class.