December 11, 2016
Next time you are about to enjoy idlis at a mess or restaurant, check whether they have a very smooth, shiny layer – beware, one of the reasons could be cooking them using plastic sheets.
It is learnt that a very unhealthy practice is followed in many food outlets – food grade polythene sheet which is widely used for packing food is being used in the process of idli-making. The sheet is placed on the idli mould, the batter is then poured and steamed in the pressure cooker. By doing this, the idlis cook fast and evenly; moreover, they do not stick to the mould so there is zero wastage of batter.
According to Anand Padmanaban, a retired government doctor, “Use of plastic bags or boxes to carry food is itself harmful. Whenever hot food or liquid is packed or cooked in a plastic bag or sheet, toxic chemicals pass into the food. Those chemicals include styrene and bisphenol, which may lead to cancer, heart diseases and reproductive problems.”
To bring this issue to the notice of the public administration, members of the Citizens Voice Club have sent a grievance letter to the TN Commissioner of Food Safety, requesting immediate action.
C M Jayaraman, President of the club, said, “Using plastic sheets in the process of making idlis is alarming. When queried, the reason given by the food outlets is that it reduces production time.
Earlier cloth was used in place of plastic. This practice is prevalent in food outlets not only in Coimbatore but also in the rest of Tamil Nadu.”
He adds, “In our letter we have requested special inspections to be done by the food safety authority in the State, and to shut down hotels and restaurants that follow this unhealthy practice.”