What do you see in the picture below –
A bowl of fresh peas ? Well, this is dried yellow peas that have been coloured green :(. This is something eaten nearly everyday in Andhra, Telegana and TamilNadu as part of regular dishes. I bought these thinking I will use them to make pulao .. But when I put them in water to clean, the colour started to seep out.
I didn’t use the peas and also showed it to many people and asked them to refrain from buying these …
I thought it was probably just that one off instance when food colouring was so obviously seen. But I was so wrong. In Gurgaon, two days back we bought a watermelon, what they call sugar watermelon, as it is so sweet. It’s a dark green variety unlike the regular watermelon that has a striped shell. I put it in the fridge and took it out yesterday morning to juice it. As soon as I cut into it I realised that something was not ok, and as I tasted a small piece it was rancid – not rotten. Anyway, I put it into a bag to dispose it off and just kept it on the floor till the garbage man came over. When I picked it up I saw there was water on the floor. I thought it was just the juice from the watermelon…. But when I picked up a cleaning cloth to wipe the floor, I realised it was a sticky gum like substance.
Apparently watermelons are injected with some chemical to ripen them sooner and increase their sweetness. They do that to Mangoes and several other fruits… Grapes are sprayed with pesticides that don’t wash off in plain water, you need to use soap water to clean them. Apples are waxed and made to look shiny. Again soap water is needed to wash the wax off. Apparently even the widely available banana is sprayed with some chemical to ripen them sooner.. The list is endless. Organic is not really an alternative because it’s priced high and we aren’t really sure if they are truly organic.
What should we really do ? We try and buy fruits and vegetables from the weekly markets that are setup in every locality. The hope is they are less polluted and lesser amounts of pesticides have been used.
India ranks high in food adulteration … Street food while being tasty is often adulterated. Hotel and restaurants serve food with high quantities of baking soda and other taste enhancers which leave you with a bloated feeling. Even the salt we use is all iodised – only a fraction of the population needs iodine for their thyroid imbalance. The iodised salt leads to water retention ! Am not even going to the oils. Everything is fried to make it taste good but at a huge cost to one’s health.
Unbelievably there is an advertisement exhorting mothers to give white sugar dipped food to their child to show their love – yes, the advert is for “vee vee” sugar and it’s supposed to be as pure as a mother’s love. Really ? Then you have adverts that talk of using a particular cleaner that help fight germs … We are on a slippery slope and it’s a deep fall for our health.
Modiji and Madam Harsimrat Kaur, this issue needs a lasting solution otherwise the demographic dividend that we save from liquor and drugs will be lost to food adulteration. 😦
Readers, please share your ideas for fixing this problem sooner than later.