Saturday, August 6, 2016

FSSAI of India bans Silver Leaf (Chandi ka warq) of Animal Origin in Food Items

FSSAI bans Silver Leaf (Chandi ka Varakh) of Animal Origin
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has banned the use of any material of animal origin in silver leaf (chandi ka warq/Varakh), commonly used in confectioneries (sweet meat) and sweets like barfi for decoration and also in paan and packaged supari.

This news is reported by the Times of India-Aug 2, 2016 and I have provided some links of actual news from various newspapers at the end of the e-mail.

The FSSAI authority of India has banned this item because in the manufacturing of silver leaf (Varakh), cow’s or buffalo’s intestine (ox-gut) is used which is obtained from the slaughterhouse.  The intestine (ox-gut) is smeared with blood and mucus when is pulled out from the slaughtered animal by the butcher and sold as is to the Silver Leaf (Varakh) manufacturers.  The small thin strips of silver placed between layers of intestines and continuously hammered for up-to 8 hours a day for few days until the desired result of the glittering foil is obtained.  

The FSSAI official said that this manufacturing process is offensive and unhygienic posing potential risk to consumers.  Moreover, such silver sheets do not carry any green dot or maroon dot.  Hence, consumers fail to differentiate between a vegetarian and non-vegetarian product.

There were also concerns that the silver leaf (Varakh) contained heavy metal traces such as nickel, lead, chromium and cadmium - which are harmful for health.

These are the main reasons the FSSAI authority of India has banned the Silver Leaf (Chandi ka warq or varakh) on the food product.

Veggie Silver Leaf (Varakh)

Recently several companies have advertised that they produce the Veggie Varakh without using cows’ intestine.  They use the machine for hammering and patented synthetic material to replace the leather (cow’s intestine) which can take intense hammering of the machine for several days.  This process is very costly and hence in the country like India, one can easily obtain false certification and sell the regular non-vegetarian Varakh as cheap veggie Varakh.  Also the function of Varakh is to decorate the food/sweets only.  It does not add any nutritional value to it.  The best alternative is to avoid Varakh on the food.

Where to Report/Complain about Violators
FSSAI encourages to post complains/comments about food safety issue related to adulteration, contamination, poor quality, improper packing, insufficient information on label, misleading advertisements, incomplete information about food, clarification from food operator on license, etc " by going to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) website or click the link  and Fill in online the “Consumer's Complaints / Suggestions / Queries Form”

The FSSAI will be every much happy to help you as well guide you.  Please insert your e-mail and identify yourself to receive a suitable reply.
India is the World’s Largest Beef Exporter

CNN money news of August 5, 2016 published that India is the world's largest beef exporterThe article indicates that the large number of animals are needed to keep India's huge domestic dairy industry going.  Because of the existence of this huge dairy industry, there are plenty of grown-up cows and buffaloes are available to slaughter for beef. The dairy cows and buffaloes are significantly cheaper than the animals which are raised for beef only, because the dairy animals produce income during their growth period of first 5 years. Hence 5-year-old dairy cow and buffalo is much cheaper than non-dairy cow or buffalo raised for beef only.

In other words, Jains and vegetarian Hindus who consume milk and other dairy products directly support the beef industry because every milk producing Cows and Buffaloes are slaughtered after about 5 years of age to support beef export industry while their life expectancy is about 20 years.  I have also compiled the CNN’s article at this link for easy review$india_beef_export

Baby Calf’s Milk is Stolen from Mother Cow by Humans
Any drop of milk that we use or consume is stolen (taken without the permission) from mother cow or buffalo that was meant for her baby.  Nature has not made cows or buffaloes to produce more milk than the need of their babies unless we feed them hormones and genetically modify their genes. With the continuous use of hormones, we have forced the bodies of the mother cows and buffaloes to produce three to four times more milk than their natural need of their babies.  Because of this reason, cows and buffaloes body breaks-down in five years and milk production yield drops significantly.  At this time, we send them to slaughter-house.

We Jains and vegetarian Hindus use Silver Leaf (Varakh) and milk in Tirthankara’s/God's Puja, other religious rituals, and almost all sweets served in Jain functions.  Such items are very Himsak (Violent).  It is obtained by torturing and indirectly or directly killing Cows or Buffaloes or other five sensed animals.
In today’s environment, the production of milk (other dairy products), wool, silk, and pearl are as Himsak (violent) as the production of meat and silver leaf.  We Jains and vegetarian Hindus should banned all such items in our religious rituals and religious functions.

We have banned such items in our JAINA Pathashala Educational books of North America (USA and Canada). More than 3000 students are in Pathashalas of North America.

“We must Practice our Religion based the Time, Place, and Environment we live in” and “We must accept the truth from whatever source it comes.”  This is the essence of Lord Mahavir’s preaching.

The Book of Compassion
In the year 2000, Pujya Paramodaben Chitrabhanuji and I (Pravin K Shah) have compiled several such types of articles in English in a book named “The Book of Compassion”.  Later the book was translated in Gujarati and Hindi languages.  You can download the soft copy of any of these books from the following links of the Jain eLibrary website (

List of Articles compiled in “The Book of Compassion”
01 - My Visit to A Dairy Farm
02 -Dairy Cows - Life, Usage, and Sufferings
03 - Recycling of Slaughterhouses Waste
04 - Milk – Its Impact on Health, Cruelty, and Pollution
05 - Is Nothing Sacred? - Cruelty towards India’s Holy Animals
06 - Vegetarianism - A Compassionate Approach to Life
07 - Varakh (Silver Foil or Leaf)
08 - Facts about Eggs
09 - Story of Silk
10 - Story of Pearls
11 - The Myth about Milk
12 - Alternatives to Animal Abuse
·         Food Alternatives:
·         Clothing Alternatives:
·         Household Goods Alternatives:
·         Medicines, Drugs, Vitamins Alternatives:
·         Sports, Entertainment Alternatives:
·         Animal Based Additives to Avoid
13 - What Our Readers say about – “My Visit to A Dairy Farm” article

Pravin K Shah
Jaina Education Committee
Jain eLibrary in-charge
E-mail –
Aug 6, 2016

Actual News of various Newspaper Links

Times of India-Aug 2, 2016
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has banned the use of any material of animal origin in silver leaf (chandi ka warq), ...
Hindustan Times-Jul 19, 2016
Food regulator bans use of animal parts in manufacturing silver leaf ... leaf cannot be manufactured using any animal material of animal origin ...
Times of India-Jul 21, 2016
Following the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) notification, the ... Fine silver foil or silver leaf, is used to decorate sweets and ... any animal material of animal origin at any stage of manufacturing process.
The Siasat Daily-Jul 20, 2016
FSSAI bans on silver leaf from animal parts ... New Delhi: The food regulator of India, FSSAI has banned the use of silver foil with ... silver leaf cannot be manufactured using any animal material of animal origin at any stage.