Mumbai: Advocate files PIL against fast food giant for serving genetically treated chicken

Updated: Dec 29, 2017, 12:54 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty | Mumbai

It alleges that several fast-food chains serve such chicken; it also wants action against the use of chemicals by fruit and vegetable vendors

You may love to chew on the juicy chicken served at your favourite fast-food chain, but a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Bombay High Court, has raised serious concerns about its effect on the health of consumers. Advocate Shehzad Naqvi on Friday filed a PIL against several multi-national fast food giants, alleging that they use antibiotics and genetically treated chicken, which is harmful for health.

The PIL claims that fast-food chains use antibiotics and genetically treated chicken, which is harmful for health. Representation pic
The PIL claims that fast-food chains use antibiotics and genetically treated chicken, which is harmful for health. Representation pic

The PIL also seeks action against the use of chemicals by fruit and vegetable vendors, and poultry farms which allegedly use pig fat and growth hormones in chicken. As per the PIL, fast-food chains use genetically altered substances which are banned. This is prima-facie a violation of section 22 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

Serious implications on health
"As per the official documents of the Union Health Ministry, these giant fast food manufacturers don’t follow proper procedures to ensure healthy food. These meals contain sodium, unhealthy fat, carbohydrates that can severely effect health in the long-term. Nowadays, many school-going children consume these meals on a daily basis, which could have serious implications on their health. So this needs to be stopped," said Naqvi.

In the PIL, Naqvi has also sought action against vegetable vendors who use chemicals. "Vegetable and fruit vendors use banned chemicals like calcium carbide to artificially ripen fruits. In vegetables they use harmful chemicals to provide artificial shine," he added.

Doctors agree
Highlighting the health hazards due to these chemicals, doctors also raised their concern. "According to the FDA, sellers use edible wax, beewax, carnauba and petroleum jelly to make fruits shine. But often, the quality of the wax is not maintained, which leads to the development of infections and ulcers," said nutritionist Dr Uma Prasad.

The PIL also raises concern about the usage of pig fat and growth hormones in chicken, which is banned by the Union agriculture ministry. As per The World Health Organisation (WHO), the usage of artificial hormones can affect reproduction and also alter the functioning of endocrines in humans.

"In the long-term, due to continuous intake of chicken rich with growth hormones, the concentration of hormones becomes misbalanced. Many people develop thyroid problems," said Dr Rajendra Patil, general physician. The PIL will be heard after the Bombay High Court reopens.

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