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Sunday, December 1, 2019

karela tastes bitter for McDonalds too !!


Holiday mood ! ~ one might get up late (!) (what time is late by your standards !)- relax, order food online or go to a restaurant .. .. and that could be fashioned by the advertisements that you see.. ..

A group of employees from 13 McDonald’s restaurants in Chicago filed a lawsuit recently  alleging that the company’s drive for profits puts workers at “daily risk” of physical attack by dangerous customers. In the lawsuit filed in Cook County court, the 17 workers say McDonald’s has failed to protect them from what they say is a “citywide and nationwide” pattern of violence and that police respond to more than 20 - 911 calls every day regarding Chicago McDonald’s restaurants. They cite several examples of the violence, including an incident in which a customer beat an employee with a sign and another in which a customer urinated on a worker. “McDonald’s has failed, at a systemic level, to protect its workers from violence in the workplace,” said Danny Rosenthal, an attorney for the workers. “Throughout the country, McDonald’s workers are regularly threatened, assaulted, and injured by customers.”

McDonald’s did not respond to the lawsuit’s specific allegations, but it said in a statement that, “McDonald’s takes seriously its responsibility to provide and foster a safe working environment for our employees, and along with our franchisees, continue to make investments in training programs that uphold safe environments for customers and crew members.” The lawsuit contends that in its effort to increase profits, McDonald’s has taken steps that have made working at its restaurants more dangerous. For example, it alleges that by lowering and tearing down physical barriers at check-out counters, the company has made it easier for dangerous customers to attack workers.  Because McDonald’s does not allow workers to lock bathroom doors when they are sent there to clean them, the company puts workers at greater risk of sexual violence, the lawsuit asserts. One of the plaintiffs “was cleaning inside the men’s bathroom when men entered and exposed themselves to her in a sexual manner,” it states.

Gourds include the fruits of some flowering plant species in the family Cucurbitaceae, particularly Cucurbita and Lagenaria. The term refers to a number of species and subspecies, many with hard shells, and some without.  A calabash, bottle gourd,  Lagenaria siceraria, also known by many other names, including long melon, -  is a vine grown for its fruit, which can be either harvested young to be consumed as a vegetable.  Calabash fruits have a variety of shapes: they can be huge and rounded, small and bottle shaped, or slim and serpentine, and they can grow to be over a metre long. The bottle gourd may have been carried from Africa.

                   Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) (Karela / Pagal kai/ pavakkai) is an important vegetable crop and is grown for its immature tuberculate fruits which have a unique bitter taste. Fruits are considered as a rich source of vitamins and minerals and 88 mg vitamin C per 100 g.  During periods of glut in market, fruits are sliced, partially boiled with salt and dried under direct sunlight and stored for months. This is used after frying. Bitter gourd fruits have medicinal value and are used for curing diabetes, asthma, blood diseases and rheumatism. Drinking fresh bitter gourd juice is recommended by naturopaths. Roots and stem of wild bitter gourd are used in many ayurvedic medicines.  It is a luscious,climbing vine with slightly fuzzy stems clothed with dark green, deeply lobed leaves and yellow, dioecious flowers. The important bitter gourd growing states are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Assam Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Though many could carry bitter memories of having been forced to eat bitter gourd in childhood days – its medicinal capabilities makes the taste too comprehensible.  The fried chips of karela are now consumed avidly.  The fact that karela contains plenty of health-giving characteristics, anoint it as a must-have food in our regular diet. Karela is especially recommended as a part of the diabetes diet, as its properties help in regulating blood pressure levels.

McDonalds tried to cash on a section of the youngsters' perceived disliking of vegetables to promote their burger, puff and fries that were to be served with cola beverages in a combo pack. “A full page advertisement by McDonald's in newspapers said, 'Stuck with Ghiya-Tori Again? Make the 1+1 Combo you love' has landed them in trouble. The Central licensing authority and FSSAI’s designated officer at New Delhi and Mumbai have taken cognizance of this and issued show cause notices for contravening the provisions of Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018 as to why further action should not be initiated against McDonald's for this,” says a press statement issued by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

The food safety and standards authority of India (FSSAI) said the advertisement is in contravention of food safety regulations that prohibit “irresponsible advertisement” by food companies to promote sales of their own foods, often considered “unhealthy”, as substitute for healthy foods.  The notice seeks a response why further action should not be initiated against the company. The regulator said if the company fails to respond satisfactorily, it may attract a fine of up to Rs.10 lakh. FSSAI said irresponsible advertising and marketing and the tendency of food companies to disparage freshly cooked food and vegetables that are healthier is a “matter of grave concern”.

“Companies are becoming very creative in promoting their brand. But it cannot be in contravention to our regulations which clearly states that while promoting their brands they must not demean healthy foods. Such misleading advertisements have huge impact, especially on kids,” FSSAI chief executive is quoted as saying.  

Perhaps now ‘karela’ tastes bitter for McDonalds.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1st Dec 2019.

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