Don’t eat that pakora, it may have been fried in RBD

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Unhealthy greasy deep-fried items including samosas and pakoras are again the preferred Iftar food on dastarkhwans during this Ramazan, and at many places, these treats are cooked in unhygienic oil or a substance called RBD, posing a health risk to people.
Former chairman of the Food Science and Technology Department, University of Karachi, Dr Abid Hasnain says besides ghee and oil, a substance called RBD is being used to fry snacks at shops. “RBD is imported on the condition that it will be refined but the importers never do that,” he adds. “RBD is available at cheaper rates as compared to oil and ghee and stall owners prefer buying this to prepare unhygienic snacks”
Dr Hasnain says that RBD is extremely injurious for the human body and has various long- and short-term effects. This includes stomach pain and liver disorders in short-term complications while the long-term effects include obesity, clogging of cardiac valves and other health disorders.
According to an estimate, the sales of these items at stalls set up in Saddar, Cantt Station, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Surjani Town, New Karachi, Malir, Shah Faisal, Landhi and Korangi have increased by 200 percent in the holy month.
“Our sales have increased in this month and we are currently earning as much in a day as we used to earn in four days during other months,” says Sajid, who sells snacks near Tibet Centre. “I have so many customers that I am not free till Iftar time,” he adds.
Another snack stall owner, Babu, says that his sales have increased by 200 percent. Although the oil he cooks in appeared to be more than a week old and was black in colour, Babu claims he changes it after every four days.
Sources claim that renowned restaurants and mithai shops do dot not dispose of their used cooking oil, but instead sell them to small stall owners, who cook their food in it.
The authorities concerned do not keep a check on the sale of injurious edibles while the citizens refuse to give up eating the greasy snacks.
Health Services Karachi Director Dr Nasir Javed said that his department is unable to take action against stall owners due the paucity of staff. “Under the new commissionerate system, all these complaints are handled by the deputy commissioner,” he said.
Karachi Commissioner Muhammad Hussain Syed said that this is a serious issue and he would order the deputy commissioners concerned and the health department to take action against stall owners cooking edibles in harmful oil or RBD.

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