Love snacking on street food? Here is some news that should give you pause.
A recent study by the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, Pusa Road, shows extremely high volume of E coli bacteria, usually found in faecal matter, in these snacks sold in central and west Delhi, according to India Today.
"We conducted the study to analyse the microbial load in Delhi's street food. It was done with a survey of commonly consumed street food by 100 individuals. We chose five locations in West Delhi, where daily sales were the maximum, for collecting samples. For microbial analysis, five street and five franchisee food products were taken from the most popular shops. We collected food samples (samosa, golgappa, burger and momos) twice from the street shops and franchisee outlets at a one-month interval," Dr Arpita Sharma of the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition told India Today, adding that the samples were drawn from west and central Delhi.
The scientists were horrified to see that the samples collected from areas such as Connaught Place, Rajouri Garden main market, Rajendra Place and Subash Nagar were infected with the same bacteria found in human poop. The normal Most Probable Number (MPN) of coliform bacteria in food items is 50 or less as per the Central Pollution Control Board, but it was found to be over 2,400 in the samples of branded burgers, vegetarian and non-vegetarian momos and other food items collected from popular restaurants.
"This is a matter of great concern. I would never eat street food after reading this report. The report literally means that whatever we eat, we are ingesting faeces," Dr Shobha Broor, microbiologist at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) told India Today.
According to the report, the bacterial pathogens found in these eateries can cause a range of health problems such as vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, loss of appetite, mild fever, typhoid, food poisoning and irritation and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.
That steaming plate of aloo tikki is bound to suddenly look highly unappetising.