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Forum Thread - Are edible silver leaves vegetarian?

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Kavey, on 23/6/2007 01:42am

Irfan, I myself am not religious and not vegetarian so this matter is not of personal relevance to me.

However, I do understand that many people do place great importance on maintaining their strictly non-vegetarian lifestyle and that the use of animal products, no matter how well cleaned etc. would be objectionable to them, if they knew about it.

Hence my feeling that the best policy is to be open about production so that each individual is free to make their decision.

That way strictest vegetarians know not to eat varakh.

Less strict ones may choose to eat the product.

And those of us (including me) who are not vegetarian, will eat it but have an awareness that the product is not suitable to offer strict friends/ family.

shital prashad j, on 19/10/2007 05:00pm

This is an important discussion. I am reproducing from an article in Ahimsa Times- September 2007 issue-www.jainsamaj.org.

READER'S NOTES

IS VARAKH (Silver foil) VEGETARIAN? -Sandeep Shah- A couple of years ago, Indian Airlines, the domestic air-carrier of India had issued instructions to its suppliers to supply sweet without silver foil called VARAKH. Do you know why? This is what, I would like to bring to your notice. If you keenly observe this VARAKH under a microscope don't be perturbed if you happen to see traces of blood, stools and saliva of a cattle or ox. VARAKH is a silver foil and we have no second questions on this, but to prepare this VARAKH important parts of the CATTLE/OX is made use of Intestines of Cattle / OX are obtained from the slaughterhouse. This is obtained after butchering to death the cattle/ox for beef and the part, which cannot be consumed: the intestines are pulled out of the animal and handed over to the manufacturers of VARAKH. Before handing over the intestines, they are washed in the slaughterhouse to get rid of the blood and other remains on these intestines in the limited facility that is present in the Slaughterhouse. We are not sure how neatly this job is carried out. Intestines are cut into Small pieces and then are bound together as pages in a notebook.

My email address is jainshital@hotmail.com

A silver block is placed in the middle of these bound intestines, and the whole thing is Placed in a leather bag and sealed. Experts, who know how to make VARAKH, pound the bag with wooden sticks, till the entire bag flattens out. The silver block would by this time be turned into silver foil. This Silver foil would now be separated from the intestine pack and will be placed on paper. This is VARAKH, which reaches the market ready for use. Even staunch vegetarians, who shy away from egg, unknowingly consume this as a part of sweet, pan and aeronaut. Some unknowingly consume this because of the additional taste that VARAKH provides. Now the question is "Why the intestines of the cattle/ox? Why not something else?" The reason behind using the intestines of the cattle/ox for preparing the VARAKH is because of the elasticity of the intestines. They do not get cut even after a severe pounding. In India, on an average an estimate indicates that 2,75,000 kilos of "VARAKH" is consumed. Can you estimate how many cattle / ox are sacrificed for just a bit of taste? Courtesy: Sandeep Shah , Mahavir path, Baramati, 413102 E-Mail: sandeep_369@yahoo.com

Editor's Comments - According to an article written by Mrs. Maneka Gandhi and published in Rajasthan Patrika dated: 25th September, 2007, it would be alarming to know that in order to produce 1 Kg. of varakh, 12,500 animals are required to be killed, every year, 30,000 (30 tons) varakh is required every year for sweets alone, leave apart its use in other ways like, pasting on idols, using for wrapping pan, vegetables and fruits. It has been well-established that there is no material available so far which can be utilised to make varakh except fresh intestines of animals, like oxen, cows and camels. Companies and individuals proclaiming that varakh is now being made by machines is a hoax and commercial propaganda to mislead people. Industrial Toxicology research Centre has carried out a lot of studies on the micro-constituents found in varakh and they have established that varakh commonly available in the market contains small amounts of metals, like lead, chromium, nickel and cadmium which are not only poisonous but these can even lead to illness like Cancer. It is therefore high time that people, specially in India, who are so fond of consuming sweets in large quantities should think about the possible consequences and stop buying varakh and sweets which are covered with varakh. P. L. JAIN, E-Mail : pljain2006@gmail.com

Rajneesh, on 19/10/2007 06:10pm

Hi,

just read this article about silver varak in your website hence this information provided to me by my friend in india last year should interest you all.

As for me a non-vegeratian it does not matter as long as it is not contaminated (but then how do you know that it is contaminated???)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Source of Silver Foil in Sweets :- ONE MUST READ THIS

USA, Aug 23 (VNN) - A couple of years ago, Indian Airlines, the

domestic air-carrier of India had issued instructions to its

suppliers to supply sweet without silverfoil called VARAKH. Do you

know why?

Silver is widely used for various purposes in the market today.

Silver is considered precious and its utility is enormous. The

reason behind this is that silver reflects back 95% of the light

energy that falls on it. The silver foils used for edible purposes

is called VARAKH So what's so special about VARAKH?

This is what I would like to bring to your notice.

If you keenly observe this VARAKH under a microscope don be

perturbed if you happen to see traces of blood, stools and saliva of

a cattle or ox.

VARAKH is a silver foil and we have no second questions on this, but

to prepare this VARAKH important parts of the CATTLE/OX is made use

of.

Intestines of Cattle/OX are obtained from the slaughterhouse. This

is obtained after butchering to death the cattle/ox for beef and the

part, which cannot be consumed: the intestines are pulled out of the

animal and handed over to the manufacturers of VARAKH. Before

handing over the intestines, they are washed in the slaughterhouse

to get rid of the blood and other remains on these intestines in the

limited facility that is present in the slaughterhouse. We are not

sure how neatly this job is carried out. Intestines are cut into

small pieces and then are bound together as pages in a notebook.

A silver block is placed in the middle of these bound intestines,

and the whole thing is placed in a leather bag and sealed. Experts,

who know how to make VARAKH, pound the bag with wooden sticks, till

the entire bag flattens out. The silver block would by this time be

turned into silver foil. This Silver foil would now be separated

from the intestine pack and will be placed on paper.

This is VARAKH, which reaches the market ready for use. Even staunch

vegetarians, who shy away from egg, unknowingly consume this as a

part of sweet, pan and arecanut. Some unknowingly consume this

because of the additional taste that VARAKH provides.

Now the question is "Why the intestines of the cattle/ox? Why not

something else?" The reason behind using the intestines of the

cattle/ox for preparing the VARAKH is because of the elasticity of

the intestines. They do not get cut even after a severe pounding.

This aspect is brought out in the magazine "Beauty without cruelty"

and the Television show of Maneka Gandhi, "Heads and Tails". In

India, on an average an estimate indicates that 2,75,000 kilos of

"VARAKH" is consumed. Can you estimate how many cattle/ox are

sacrificed for just a bit of taste?

If you are surprised as I am, after reading this article please

inform as many as possible so as to ensure that we unknowingly don't

consume beef.

I would like to thank the authors of this article in Taranga, a

weekly magazine in Kannada, for enlightening us.

---------------------------------------------------------

hope this article clear your doubts...Rajneesh

SUDHIR SAWANT, on 28/12/2007 04:56pm

AS AN AUTOMATION ENGINEER I HAVE WITNESSED THAT THE VARAKH MADE MADE BY KANISHKA PLATINUM GOLD AND SILVER PRODUCTS PVT.LTD. IN JAIPUR IS PURELY VEGETARIAN ( JAIN VARAKH ). THE INVENTOR OF THIS VEGETARIAN VARAKH IS A AMERICAN CITIZEN ( NRI ) AND HE MADE THE RESEARCH FOR LAST FIFTEEN YEARS . I WAS AMAZED TO SEE HIS TECHNOLOGY BY USING THE CARBON PAPER TO MAKE THE VARAKH . KSK VARAKH HAS BEEN CERTIFIED BY BEAUTY W/O CRUELITY AS 100% VEGETARIAN PRODUCT.

I HAVE SEEN THE METHODS ADOPTED BY MANY TRADITIONAL PANNIGHAR PEOPLE AND OTHER MFG. OF THE WORLD . I AM CONVIENCE THAT THIS IS THE ONLY METHOD WHERE HYGENIC VARAKH ( SILVER FOILS ) ARE MADE.

FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO SEE FURTHER DETAILS PLEASE VISIT THEIR WEBSITE WWW.KSKVARAKH.COM

Mamta, on 28/12/2007 10:59pm

This is very interesting Sudhir and nice to know. I wonder how can one tell which one is vegetarian when buying. The varaks I have seen in shops in india are usually sold between layers of unmarked paper/newspaper cuttings, with no manufacturer name on them!

Mamta

Anna, on 14/6/2008 02:29am

This is all so very interesting and informative. I just discovered your discussion so I am coming in very late. However, I wanted to add a few thoughts to consider. I was truly shocked to hear that varak is not vegan. I was looking around for places to purchase the edible silver leaf as I am considering making a vegan health product using the silver. I have studied Holistic and Ayurvedic Health for many years and in these fields, silver/ colloidal silver have important health applications ~ anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. I had seen and consumed various Indian sweets with the silver leaf. I thought it interesting and wondered about its use and is it possible that the ancients knew about the health benefits of silver? The true knowledge of its purpose may have been lost over time. Perhaps the health benefits of the varak far out weighed the concerns of how it was being made. This is all something to think about. Thanks very much for this forum. For more information on the health benefits of colloidal silver go to www.all-natural.com/silver

Laxmi Rao, on 14/1/2009 06:42am

Dear Mamta,

Thanks a lot for putting this subject under the forum.

Helped me a lot to clear the doubts.

I would also like to thank people who have added to value to my knowledge.

Thank you once again,

Laxmi

AskCy, on 14/1/2009 04:18pm

I think a lot of us have learned from this particular topic !

Steve

anshu jain, on 24/9/2009 10:12am

iam jain,from childhood i never eat varak decorated sweets.but now a days from so many people i heard that varak making with help of animal product is old sayings. i have ate it once, but today i was shocked reading about varak making with help of cow intestine.iam really hurt with all this.

Manish, on 18/4/2010 03:25pm

Now a days many big companies have started manufacturing varak using modern tools. So varak is now 100% veg.

mani366@gmail.com

Mamta, on 18/4/2010 03:35pm

Yes, that is true. I just hope that they write on the packet that it is vegetarian.

mamta

Bhavi Jain, on 25/5/2010 06:24pm

Varakh is suppose to be 100 % silver. However it is difficult to verify its composition. I heard that some manufacturers are using aluminum in stead of silver in their varakh products. Some varakh may contain trace amount of heavy metals such as Lead and Cadmium. How can one check the true chemical composition of varakh?

Guest, on 12/7/2010 05:41pm

WhenI was looking up this subject.. I came across this link which states what exactly goes on when making this controversial food item.... and it really touched me... m soooooooooooooo not having varak next time I have a sweet

http://ezinearticles.com/?Why-Varak-is-Barred-by-Vegans,-Vegetarians-and-Jains?&id=4622259

sunitha vinod so, on 31/7/2010 09:56am

when everybody is clear that vark is nv then why green symbol on the pack.

Winton, on 31/7/2010 11:00am

Several things spring to mind....

Where was the varakh purchased? In some European countries for instance the 'green dot' is to do with recycling packaging rather than the food content, unlike the Indian vegetarian green dot or maroon nv dot.

Is it Kanishka varakh which claims to be machine made and vegetarian? http://www.kskvarakh.com/index.htm

Are some unscruplous manafcuturers claiming the actual silver is vegetarian even though thousands of animals are slaughtered for the manufacturing process, and contamination must occur?

Maya Aipirala, on 16/6/2011 10:57am

Hi! I have been an animal rights activist for decades now. I would like to confirm that in India Varak is made from beating the silver on sheep skin and as such is not strictly vegetarian in that sense. If you are a strict vegetarian, please avoid it.

amrish shah, on 23/6/2011 04:13am

Actually kanishka jaipur has veg varakh. KSK varakh is first silver leaf approved by "Beauty without cruelty". Visit kskvarakh.com

money, on 24/6/2012 12:50pm

From what little I know and heard of is that "chandi varak" or finely beaten silver foil that is used to layer the Indian sweets is obtained by beating the silver metal in a bag or cushion made of sheep's udder. Whereas the foil itself is just silver and may not have any contact with the animal skin, to achieve the very fine thickness it has to undergo this process, a thorough beating as the blacksmith would beat a piece of hot iron plate to achieve finess. The udder skin or "leather" is strong to withstand the repeated beating without tearing-up.

One cannot declare it pure vegetarian as the manufacturing process involves use of animal matter.

I suppose if you can drink milk, eat butter and ghee, all animal products or for that matter honey why not Chandi Varak?

Nic J Money

Vinod K. Aggarwa, on 30/5/2013 12:52pm

As as I know, conventionally, the varakh was beaten in between layers of paper which was made by using intestine of oxen hence known as Non-veg. Varakh by many.

But now a days, with the introduction of new techniques, the silver is beaten by automated machines ( PLC Based) called hammers and it is beaten in Polyster Sheets. Hence the such made varakh is 100% pure and vegetarian.

Vinod K. Aggarwal

vk5436@yahoo.com

shilpi, on 27/7/2013 06:25am

How and where to get veg varak?

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