Newspapers not to wrap food

Newspapers not to wrap food By YUEN MEIKENG The ink used in newspapers may contain cancer-causing elements. The ink used in newspapers may contain cancer-causing elements.

PETALING JAYA: The habit of using newspapers to soak the oil off fried food is unacceptable as those who consume such food will endanger their health, said National Poison Centre consultant Dr T. Jayabalan.

He said it was a risky practice because chemicals in the ink might contain cancer-causing elements.

“Solvents are used to dissolve the ink on newspapers. These solvents could be carcinogenic.

“Consuming food which is mixed with these chemicals puts people at risk of getting serious chronic illnesses,” he said.

Dr Jayabalan was commenting on complaints by the public that some food sellers preferred to use newspapers to soak up excess grease from fried food before selling them to customers.

Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohd Idris said hawkers should be banned from using newspapers to absorb oil from fried food.

“Local councils should make it a requirement that all hawkers be prohibited from such practices before granting them an operating licence,” he said.

Mohd Idris said this move would help hawkers practise good hygiene and be more mindful of their customers’ health.

He said hawkers and food operators should also stop using newspapers to wrap food covered with plastic sheets.

“You may never know if the plastic sheets have holes in them. The food may still be contaminated with the ink on the newspaper and other chemicals,” he said.

Mohd Idris said brown paper bags were a safer option to wrap food.

Consultant Remy Jaafar, 55, said he was turned off when he saw a hawker selling keropok lekor (fish crackers) using newspapers to soak up the oil from the fried snacks.

“When I told the hawker that it was an unhealthy practice, she merely glared at me. Needless to say, I’m not going to buy anything from her anymore,” said Remy from Ipoh.

2 Responses to “Newspapers not to wrap food”

  1. drkokogyi Says:

    Public going bananas over toxic ‘crunchies’.

    I was tuning in to Ben and Nadia of FlyFM this morning on the way to work and they were discussing about urban food legends. Many of you may have heard of this before but it came as a surprise to me when I heard that one of Malaysian’s favourite snack is cooked with melted plastic!

    Shocked with disbelief, I went on a googling spree and found out that this is not a recent issue. Since 2005 (or earlier), people have been talking and claiming sights of hawkers melting plastic drinking straws in the boiling oil before frying those batter-coated bananas!

    This issue came into the limelight when, a popular on-line news portal posted an article on this matter on March 13, 2008.

    Hawkers seen mixing melted plastic with goreng pisang

    JOHOR – SOME hawkers in Johor Baru are literally cooking popular snacks such as goreng pisang and keledek with melted plastic, creating a health scare, a news report said.

    The News Straits Times reported recently that e-mails on the unethical practice have been circulating to warn people of the potential health hazards of eating extra crispy fried snacks or even chicken.

    The e-mails describe how some hawkers had been seen adding plastic straws and bottles into boiling oil before frying their snacks.

    Apparently, plastic is a ‘secret ingredient’ and it has been a common practice to most hawkers. There are reports of hawkers melting plastic straws, plastic drinking bottle and plastic bags into hot boiling cooking oil. Some hawker had bought cooking oil in plastic bags, instead of pouring the cooking oil into the wok; they just throw the whole bag into the wok.

    There are many reasons to such unethical practice; some says that by melting plastic in the oil, it helps keeping the oil clean and re-use them again for the next day. But ultimately, the hawkers believed that the ‘secret ingredient’ makes the goreng pisang and goreng keledek crunchier.

    Just early this year, Grace Chang, a Principal of a college in KL stumbled upon a piece of plastic straw that had half-melted and had embedded into the banana fritters which she bought at a shopping mall outlet. She quickly reported this case to The Daily Express.

    Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca) Vice President, Datuk Patrick Sindu, said he wants the matter to be probed by the Health Department; but I haven’t heard anything from the government or the Health Department doing any investigation on this matter.

    Now who in what right mind would anybody wants to eat a plastic-coated goreng pisang? Basically nobody! It is believed that goreng pisang fried with melted plastic will stay crunchy even for hours. We all know everything fried will become soft and soggy if being cooled down in open air. So how to be sure you’re not indulging any plastic-coated goreng pisang? Stay away from any super crispy goreng pisang which can stay crispy and crunching 2 hours later. @

  2. drkokogyi Says:

    Toilet paper not for restaurant dining tables, says association

    PETALING JAYA: Should eateries put a stop to the practice of using toilet paper in place of napkins?

    Fomca thinks so and has called for a stop to the practice.

    “This is inappropriate because toilet paper is meant for other purposes,” said its secretary-general Datuk Paul Selva Raj.

    He also urged the local councils and relevant authorities to come out with a guideline, detailing the proper use of certain items at these outlets.

    Paul said restaurant owners tended to choosemore toilet paper as it was thinner than a serviette.

    “Using toilet paper will not help you save money. You may end up paying even more,” he added.

    Penang Hawkers Association president Ooi Thean Huat, however, said it was fine to use toilet paper to wipe the hands or mouth after eating.

    “I don’t see any wrong in this practice. Toilet paper is still a clean sheet of paper anyway. The only problem is that it may leave a not-so-nice impression on foreign tourists,” he said.

    Ooi said the association would not interfere in the matter, but added that toilet paper should not be used to wrap food as it was made from low-quality and recycled products.

    The Federation of Hawkers and Petty Traders Association of Malaysia vice-president Chin Yoke Weng felt that it was not hygienic to use toilet paper on the face as it was not meant for that purpose.

    He said the association would keep an eye on its members’ conduct and advise them accordingly.

    T. Muthusamy, deputy president of Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners’ Association said he encouraged restaurant owners to use proper serviette and tissue paper at their premises as it left customers with a better impression. He urged consumers to play their parts by voicing out their opinions.

    It has been reported previously that the Penampang district council in Kota Kinabalu had put a stop to the use of toilet paper rolls as serviettes for customers in coffeeshops and eateries.

    However, it is believed that the ban is not strictly enforced.

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