Cooked food and sold on the street is in great demand in Asia, because it is cheap, tasty and everyone appreciates it, the locals being those who eat it most, without any restraint. However, we have every right to be skeptical regarding the hygiene. Can we be sure of the fact that this food is cooked according to the standards? Is there the risk of getting sick of any known or unknown disease?
In Mumbai, the food is cooked without gloves and those who prepare it receive the money from the clients with the same fingers they mix the ingredients without washing their hands. Then, the cooked food sits uncovered on the street. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, on the streets of Mumbai you will always find freshly cooked food.
An alarming study shows that only 53% of the Indians use water and soap to wash their hands after using the toilet, and only 38% of them use soap and water before they start cooking. There are many bacteria that are transmitted through food: E coli, salmonella, shigella, coliform bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus or pseudomonas, all very dangerous, leading to diarrhea, typhoid, food poisoning, urinary tract infections or pneumonia.
A journalist from The Guardian was curious to find out how healthy is the food sold on the streets of Mumbai and he decided to take some samples to the lab for testing. For this, he bought pav-bhaji, which is a spicy Indian specialty based on kibbled vegetables that he found on a crowded street exposed to wind and dust and cooked between a railway station and a bus depot. The cook who cooked the food was sweaty, he didn’t wear gloves or a hat and he was very preoccupied with his cooking.
After 7 days, the results from the lab arrived and left the journalist speechless: E coli, salmonella, were missing and the amount of mold was below the acceptable limits. In other words, the food was safe for consumption.
Here are the test results: