I found this post on a blog called Malaysiabest.net. This little story has caught my attention because my friend told me of how she threw out a packet of fried ikan bilis (anchovies) bought at a local Chinese grocers because she had heard the Thai manufacturers fried them in oil mixed with plastics to make them crispier. Amazing! The moral of the story? Avoid eating snacks that come from a source you don’t trust.
Are the fears completely unfounded? Who knows but I would rather not take the risks. Here is a cut-and-paste from Malaysiabest’s post which he found from another blogger. It seems unscrupulous food makers/sellers are adding plastic straws and bottles to give their food more appeal. A lot like the melamine case. So, watch out for those fried onions and fried anchovies, or fried banana crisps.
Consumers’ demand for crispy snacks like goreng pisang and keledek (keledek = sweet potato) 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 (banana fritter seller) 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 allegedly started in Thailand, for frying ikan bilis (anchovies) 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.