Did you lend second thoughts to the ultra thin layer of silver that covers your sweets or paan? Maybe not! However, this ultra thin layer of silver or ‘varakh’ as it is known as, should not be taken for granted. Investigations by organizations such as Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of India have revealed that the bulk of the varakh available in the country is non-vegan and non-vegetarian besides containing harmful metals that are carcinogenic in nature.
What makes the varakh non-vegan and non-vegetarian?
Varakh is a cruelty product; first, because of the process involved in its production. And second, because of the presence of non-vegetarian/non-vegan substances in the finished product.
By and large, varakh is produced by pounding the metal silver between two surfaces of tender animal tissue (epidermis). According to a varakh manufacturer, animals with tender skin are identified for slaughter (primarily sheep and baby goats) so that the epidermal layer of their skin can be used in the varakh manufacturing process. Please click the link to this informative article to learn about the detailed procedure involved in manufacturing cruelty varakh.
According to estimations made by BWC, around 12,000 animals are slaughtered to produce one kilogram of cruelty varakh. In India, the annual consumption of varakh is around 30,000 kilograms. A straight calculation reveals that 3,60,000,000 animals are killed for that ultra thin layer of silver we consume via our sweets and at times via paan, fruits, and in chvyanprash.
In addition, the pounding process leaves behind tissues from the animal’s skin, blood, and excreta on the varakh. This varakh when used to coat sweets and other edibles, makes them non-vegetarian and absolutely unsuitable as offerings at places of worship.
What makes the varakh carcinogenic?
Often, the silver is adulterated with other metals such as aluminum. Aluminum is hazardous for health and carcinogenic in nature. Read how this adulteration poses serious health risks in the article, The bitter side to silver-foiled sweets.
Other reasons to stop consuming varakh
Cruelty varakh is made under extreme unhygienic conditions and is a by-product of the unorganized sector. The varakh manufacturing process employs children as well.
Isn’t this sad?!
Here's what you can do: Some suggestions
- Refuse sweets with a coating of varakh. Does it matter in any good way if your sweets contain varkah? But, your action of refusing varakh will matter to the lives and security of millions of helpless animals!
- Report to the FDA if you find that a particular sweet shop is using cruelty varakh. The FDA has the mandate to act on such cases. But, the body cannot go ahead until a complaint has been registered.
- Demand for or suggest cruelty-free varakh to the sweet shops, temples, and fruit vendors.
KANISHKA CRUELTY-FREE VARAKH
For certain human habits to change and be replaced by cruelty-free, compassionate habits, it always helps when there are alternatives available. In today’s story we feature cruelty-free varakh from the Jaipur-based company Kanishka. Kanishka varakh is cruelty-free and machine-made, a fact that has been recently certified through the BWC-led investigations. Kanishka is the only varakh company in India that has been certified as 100% cruelty-free. According to BWC, Kanishka varakh has also been tested by sweet shops owners and found to be satisfactory. A spokesperson from the Kanishka company informed us that their product is 'better' than cruelty varakh in every possible way!
Please visit the Kanishka website by clicking here and read how the company manufactures varakh that is not only cruelty-free but is free from human contamination as well.
Availability of Kanishka varakh: Kanishka varakh is produced and supplied on order. The company supplies to numerous sweet shops in different parts of the country. Please find out where your sweet shops procure the varakh from. Suggest cruelty-free varakh to them. Let our asking create an informed demand for cruelty-free varakh. Anybody interested can get in touch with Mr. Jitendra Mathur or Mr. Surendra Karnavat from Kanishka at telephone numbers 09950511111 and 09950555555 respectively, to seek more information.
Many sweet shop owners and temple priests are aware of the fact that the varakh procured from the unorganized sector is non-vegetarian. Yet, they keep silent about it and when questioned, they almost always insist that the varakh used by them is cruelty-free and made with unadulterated metals! This is far from the truth. However, as consumers we can refuse cruelty varakh and this action of ours can help control innocent animals from being mindlessly slaughtered for that dubious ultra thin layer of silver on the sweet! Think about it.
“Cruelty is one fashion statement we can all do without.” ~Rue McClanahan, Actor~
For vegan sweets reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.