Back in 2006, I blogged about the myth or fact that hawkers added plastic mineral water bottles into frying the shallots to make them crispy and maintain the crispiness even after many months.
My sister-in-law who used to be a hawker warned me not to eat the shallots because she insisted with a serious face that the manufacturer uses mineral water bottles to make them crisp and last. She said they will throw in mineral water bottle into the hot oil so that the plastic melts and cover the shallots to make them forever crispy.
And I just picked this link from NST through blogger Zana about the same matter. The article on NST said :
Scare over ‘coated’ snacks
CONSUMERS’ demand for crispy snacks like goreng pisang and keledek has allegedly caused hawkers in Johor Baru to literally coat fried snacks with plastic, creating a health scare.
Emails are said to have been sent out warning people to keep away from consuming extra crispy fried snacks or even chicken.
The emails tell how some hawkers had allegedly been seen adding plastic straws and bottles into boiling oil before frying their snacks.
The snacks thus produced would remain crispy for several hours, the emails said.
A factory worker, Rauf Hamdan, 24, claimed he actually saw a goreng pisang seller in the city throwing a plastic bottle into boiling oil, causing the bottle to melt.
“When I asked the hawker about it, he just matter-of-factly said his customers had not complained of any health hazards from eating his goreng pisang.
“He also said this ‘recipe’ was now popular among many hawkers like him.”
Rauf said it was shocking that sellers of fried snacks were not bothered about the possible health hazards to their consumers.
Plastic bottles are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which can cause various forms of cancer and birth deformities, if eaten.
According to the emails, the trend alledgedly started in Thailand, for frying ikan bilis and onions. It spread to Kedah and Perlis, then the rest of the country.
The sender of one of the emails said his uncle had allegedly seen a goreng pisang seller adding plastic drinking straws into hot oil in Perlis.
A friend said he had seen a hawker in Cameron Highland allegedly melt a five-litre empty cooking oil bottle in boiling oil by stirring it in.
Consumers Association of Penang research officer T. Subbarao said CAP would launch an immediate investigation.
Source : http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/JohorBuzz/Friday/Stories/2171273/Article/
So, is this enough reason to make you totally freaked out? I have long wondered about the fried shallots because they really stay crispy even if I keep them exposed. If I fry them at home, the shallots get soft the moment it is exposed, i.e. not kept in air tight container. But those that I bought stays crispy all the time.
I guess there is truth in what my sister-in-law told me.