Coriander in your kitchen affecting your health ?

During cooking, chemicals deposited on the leaves are destroyed naturally and will not harm the consumers

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Picture: Pixabay

Last Updated on December 13, 2022 by The Health Master

Is coriander in your kitchen affecting your health?

CHENNAI: A garnish, sauce, or condiment—you name it, and that’s coriander for you. Almost no food is complete without a tinge of the green leaf as a whole or its seeds in powdered form.

However, recently the substance has been under the scrutiny of food safety officials because the spice producers have been using sulphur rampantly to fumigate it so that it can be preserved for a longer period.

This has earned the wrath of health officials who raided multiple locations recently, resulting in its seizure in a few places.

Although it has been a year since the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) prohibited the use of sulphur in fumigation, the practice continues unabated among traders.

A section of producers justified their action by saying that they were willing to give up sulphur usage provided the government brought forth alternatives to preserve the spice. Sulphur helps the body resist bacterial infection, besides stimulating digestion.

However, ingesting too much sulphur may cause a burning sensation or diarrhoea. Breathing its dust too can irritate the airway or cause coughing.

It can also be irritating to the skin and eyes. The merchants said that the presence of sulphur was too low and that it would not have any impact as coriander is generally not consumed directly. 

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‘FSSAI set standards without considering practical constraints

Representational image

During cooking, chemicals deposited on the leaves are destroyed naturally and will not harm the consumers,” said SP Jayaprakasam, president of the Tamil Nadu Food Grains Merchants Association.

The usage of sulphur helps coriander remain fresh for at least 15 days and kills insects. Jayaprakasam said the product had to look fresh for at least one or two days at markets from where it was purchased by consumers.

According to industrial sources, about 15 to 20 percent of the coriander demand in the state is met through the yield produced in Theni, Virudhunagar, and Ariyalur districts, and over 80 percent of the spice is received from Gujarat and Rajasthan.

About 3,000 tons of coriander are produced in the three districts and supplied to various parts of the state and Kerala.

The FSSAI standards prescribed for agriculture products are yet to be fully enforced in the State.

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A section of grain producers said that it was nearly impossible to meet the standards given the parameters fixed without considering practical constraints. “These leaves dry out quickly and change colour.

We met with scientific panels from both government and private institutions who said there were no alternatives. “Until an alternative emerges, we want the government to stop enforcing FSSAI standards on coriander,” ”said Jayaprakasam.

Meanwhile, officials stated that they had been raising awareness among farmers and product manufacturers, requesting that the chemical not be used in its preservation. “The issue is being looked into, seriously,” said the FSSAI official.

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