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The bajji at the bandiwallah can give you cancer

The bajji at the bandiwallah can give you cancer
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Street food and hygiene have always been strange bedfellows. Street food or junk food, especially bajji, samosa, puri and pani puri sold at the bandiwallahs on the streets can pose severe health hazards and in the long run lead to cancer.

Hyderabad: Street food and hygiene have always been strange bedfellows. Street food or junk food, especially bajji, samosa, puri and pani puri sold at the bandiwallahs on the streets can pose severe health hazards and in the long run lead to cancer.

The reasons cited by experts is the cheap cooking oil and reusing it multiple times by the junk food vendors. Dr Laxmaiah, senior deputy director, community studies, National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) said, “The content of saturated fatty acid in palm oil and other low-quality cooking oils, results in serious health hazards. The use of dalda and vanaspati, cheap variants of hadrogenated vegetable cooking oil used in place of ghee and butter in India, in bakery items constitutes high percentage of trans fatty acid which develops blocks in veins of the heart and finally one suffers cardiac arrest. For every 100 gm of oil only 1 per cent of trans fatty acid is permissible.”

Recent studies show alarming results. The levels of trans fatty acids are several notches high in street food. Street vendors are using palm oil which is the cheapest among all. It costs around Rs.85. The large amount of saturated fat and high calories it contains make palm oil a risky choice for one’s health.

In the survey conducted by The Hans India shows that 90 per cent of the bandiwallas from AS Rao Nagar to West Marredpally, Himayatnagar to Ameerpet use Rs 85 palm oil. Alok, a restaurateur says, “When you get palm oils for over Rs 300 per litre and there are some available for as cheap as Rs 70-Rs 80 per litre, it only shows the quality. One has to pay a price for good quality food.”

Nutritionist Sujatha Stephen says, “The commonly found bacteria pathogens in street eateries are bacillus cereus that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. Over a period of time, people get accustomed to the bloating of stomach and carry on eating every day. The long-term effects are many.” The other kind of bacteria found in street food are clostridu perfingers (abdominal cramps), staphylococcus aureus (vomiting, appetite loss and fever) and salmonelia species (typhoid, food poisoning, irritation and inflammation in gastrointestinal tract.)

A tiffin center owner Srinu at Dr AS Rao Nagar, doing business for the past 15 years shared, “We use gold oil, also a palm oil for making all varieties of snacks like puri, dosa, wada, mirchi bajji, etc. Almost 20 packets of palm oil are used in a day.” Bujji, an employee of Sri Sai Sumanth tiffin center at ECIL X Roads, said he uses as much as two tins of gold oil per day.

BY Sushma Nagaraju

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