Source of Silver Foil used in sweets

Source of Silver Foil used in sweets


Courtesy: Taranga Magazine

Authors: Nafiza Joseph and Shailaja N Raj

A couple of years ago, Indian Airlines, the domestic air-carrier of India had issued instructions to its suppliers to supply sweet without silverfoil called VARAKH. Do you know why ??? Silver is widely used for various purposes in the market today. Silver is considered precious and its utility is enormous. The reason behind this is that silver reflects back 95% of the light energy that falls on it.

The silver foils used for edible purposes is called VARAKH So what’s so special about VARAKH? This is what I would like to bring to your notice. If you keenly observe this VARAKH under a microscope don be perturbed if you happen to see traces of blood, stools and saliva of a cattle or ox.

VARAKH is a silver foil and we have no second questions on this, but to prepare this VARAKH important parts of the CATTLE/OX is made use of. Intestines of Cattle/OX are obtained from the slaughterhouse. This is obtained after butchering to death the cattle/ox for beef and the part, which cannot be consumed: the intestines are pulled out of the animal and handed over to the manufacturers of VARAKH. Before handing over the intestines, they are washed in the slaughterhouse to get rid of the blood and other remains on these intestines in the limited facility that is present in the slaughterhouse. We are not sure how neatly this job is carried out. Intestines are cut into small pieces and then are bound together as pages in a notebook.

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A silver block is placed in the middle of these bound intestines, and the hole thing is placed in a leather bag and sealed. Experts, who know how to make VARAKH, pound the bag with wooden sticks, till the entire bag flattens out. The silver block would by this time be turned into silver foil.

This Silver foil would now be separated from the intestine pack and will be placed on paper. This is VARAKH, which reaches the market ready for use. Even staunch vegetarians, who shy away from egg, unknowingly consume this as a part of sweet, pan and arecanut. Some unknowingly consume this because of the additional taste that VARAKH provides. Now the question is “Why the intestines of the cattle/ox? Why not something else?” The reason behind using the intestines of the cattle/ox for preparing the VARAKH is because of the elasticity of the intestines. They do not get cut even after a severe pounding. This aspect is brought out in the magazine “Beauty without cruelty” and the Television show of Maneka Gandhi, “Heads and Tails”. In India, on an average an estimate indicates that 2,75,000 kilos of “VARAKH” is consumed. Can you estimate how many cattle/ox are sacrificed for just a bit of taste? If you are surprised as I am, after reading this article please inform as many as possible so as to ensure that we unknowingly don’t consume beef.

I would like to thank the authors of this article in Taranga, a weekly magazine in Kannada, for enlightening us.