Friday, July 22, 2016

Silver leaf made from animal parts banned

Ahmedabad: Silver foil, seen atop various sweetmeats at sweet shops, is now comming under the scanner. Following the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) notification, the making of silver foil (chandi varakh) with the use of animal parts or products has been banned from August 1 this year. A subsequent notification has been brought out by the state-level food and drugs department and executed across Gujarat.

Fine silver foil or silver leaf, is used to decorate sweets and traditional desserts and spices such as cardamom and sweet paan. They are manufactured mostly in traditional units where the silver is placed between layers of animal intestine obtained from slaughterhouses, and then hammered into a fine foil. "There has to be a clear distinction between silver leaf made in traditional factories and those manufactured using machines," says a senior AMC official.

The FSSAI issued a gazette notification Tuesday that said: "Silver leaf cannot be manufactured using any animal material of animal origin at any stage of manufacturing process." The notification has also fixed norms for thickness, weight and purity of silver. This is to ensure that hazardous aluminium foil is not passed off as silver leaf and supplied to sweet shops in small towns and villages. It has also said that the sheet needs to be of uniform thickness, free from creases and folds; and the weight of silver foil should be up to 2.8g per square metre; and the silver used should of a minimum 999/1000 fineness, the notification says.

"The fines and penalties will be announced soon. The state food regulators will take action against manufacturers who use silver leaf which uses animal parts," said a senior official of the food and drugs department. Modern machinery, according to an AMC health official, is available for the manufacture of silver leaf.