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Economical rice

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Fortan
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Economical rice

Postby Fortan » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 2:37 pm

Just read this article. Thankful I can't stand veggies but I am pretty sure the same procedure is followed in a lot of different hawker centers, leading to the lower quality in food, we all feel we are experiencing here. All comes down to the owner.

http://www.soshiok.com/content/dirty-se ... -kopitiams

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Postby BedokAmerican » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 3:02 pm

Oh, geez. It's better to cook your own food at home anyway. Once a pot of water boils, your broccoli and carrots will be done in 5 minutes. Cut and peel while you're waiting for the water to boil. It's not hard, but I understand that it can involve a bit of motivation.

The article also mentioned many people who work at the stalls are foreigners. How are they allowed to legally work in Singapore? If so, where do they live? (With the food stall's owner?) I thought Sg was kind of strict about who can come in on a work permit. Maybe I'm missing something here.

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Postby the lynx » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 3:53 pm

They are only strict on middle class professionals like sales, accounts, IT etc - you know, the job that locals have to fight for. So we're talking about SPass and EP holders.

This kind of job is without competition. No local wants to do this so they hire foreigners. Same idea for construction and cleaning companies. Work permit is a necessary evil.

By the way, I'm not so concerned about the food, I would be more concerned of the drinks. No way I'm going to order coffee or tea from hawker centres after I read this.

http://gintai.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/health-warning-check-your-cuppa-from-the-stall/

Instead of just asking for my black coffee from the roving assistant, I decided to go to the coffee stall to take a look. I waited for my black coffee to be made. To my horror, I noticed that there were rows of empty glasses with a little sugar or condensed milk inside. It’s about 8pm. The stall usually closes at 9pm.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 4:14 pm

Yep. I've noticed that 30 years ago. It's why I only drink Teh'O Kosong! :lol:

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Postby beppi » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 5:14 pm

The local standard "Sweetened Condensed Milk" is so full of preservatives and sugar that standing hours in the open does no harm to it (at least from a hygienic standpoint). The nutritional value, of course, is suspect, despite it saying on the can "fortified with" all kinds of vitamins and minerals.
It is addictive, though, and I had several cups of Teh or Teh Si every day for years, with no ill effect.

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Postby beppi » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 5:27 pm

Oh, I also frequently ate at those "Economical Rice" Stalls (I invented the term "Point Point Rice" for them, because you point at the dishes you want) - some are very good, many others forgettable, and their numbers are decreasing (like most other good foodstalls ...).
They are a typical profession for ex-convicts, who learn the required skills in prison training sessions. Since they have practically no other chance of employment, supporting them can even be seen as a social act (IF you want to support such types).
(They are also all local, not many foreigners working at those stalls - the article is plain wrong here!)
I also fail to understand how the rant about not washing the vegetables, but throwing them into boiling water instead, makes the stalls bad. Effectively washing them with boiling water instead of cold is certainly better. (It is a common misconception that cold washing removes any pesticides or other chemicals - if rain removes it, it would be useless to farmers!)

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 5:44 pm

If they were water insoluble how would they get inside the insects?
They have low solubility but still some solubility and they are not sprayed to create a thick layer. Washing the veggies should at least remove some of this stuff.

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Postby beppi » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 5:57 pm

There are many ways of non-water-based substances to get into an organism. Some Pesticides are oil-based (e.g. the usual anti-mosquito fogging), many others are water-based, though not easily removed by washing with water (or rain).

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 6:14 pm

What is sprayed over the plants and supposed to protect them also after some time has to be water soluble to some extent. Oil based agents are used typically for the action on living and present species not for protection. If they contain some active ingredient it has to be again water soluble to some extent. Killing mechanisms of the protecting pesticides (non-instant kill) involve water based body environment. If something is completely insoluble it is harmless unless it works by mechanical action (throw a brick insecticide or choke with a plastic bag). A bit aside example to illustrate: all soluble Barium salts are extremely toxic but Barium Sulphate is used as a contrast agent for X-ray of digestive system. It's because it is practically insoluble in water.

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Postby beppi » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 6:27 pm

Organisms also contain fats, so oil-based chemicals can enter and do harm too. In addition (non-water-soluble) gases can also kill. Things are just not that easy in the real world.
But in fact, most pesticides are water-based and can be washed away by water, it just takes a few weeks or months!

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 8:20 pm

There are some that have very low solubility like few dozens of mg per liter and there are some with high solubility in hundreds of grams per liter (i.e. Methamidophos). These with low solubility will not be that easily removed with water. More over they will be also typically less toxic to human due to this low solubility. But these with higher solubility can surely be removed by just washing the veggies. The point is that we don't know what is sitting in the veggies we buy, do we? It is better to wash them as they may be treated with something more soluble and more toxic.

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Postby beppi » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 8:34 pm

Chemicals that are easily washed away by rain would have to be renewed almost daily by the farmers. That is clearly neither feasible nor economic.
Therefore chemicals that build a water-resistant film or those that get into the plant proper are preferred. In those cases, washing is of limited to no use.
I am not an expert, but SMS, our resident expert about pest control, might be able to explain this better.
(For the record: I do usually wash my vegetables, to remove sand and soil rather than anything really harmful.)

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 9:12 pm

Beppi, many pesticides have just days of half life after they are applied and this is not due to solubility but degradation. They are still in use.

Check for example this one:
http://www.pan-uk.org/pestnews/Actives/dimethoa.htm

Half life is 7 days only and its well soluble in water. When it degrades it also generates some new compounds so it is rather complex system.

Again, the whole point is that we don't know what might have been used, I really doubt there is any stringent control over food quality imported to Singapore and we are surrounded by the countries where old, cheaper and more toxic pesticides already phased out elsewhere may be in use. Why to take the risk? It can be also dirty with urine, poo and some other surprises and even if hot oil will kill all the bacterias and many toxins generally it does not contribute well to the taste of the final products. My 8 cents worth.

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Postby beppi » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 9:20 pm

I agree with your last post.
Even if washing does not remove many toxins, this is no excuse NOT to wash vegetables before use!
In the article linked above, vegetables are "washed" in boiling water, which certainly removes more unwanted stuff than cold water. It is therefore to be recommended, rather than criticized (as the article does). This was my main point!

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Wed, 26 Feb 2014 11:58 pm

What kills my stomach is the excessive oil used while cooking most of these foods in hawker center's than pesticide residues. I therefore stick to boiled or steamed stuff.
One more thing comes to mind, some of these stalls that have a B on them actually deserve a ZZ- while others really are an A, I wonder what thought process goes on while evaluating these food stalls.
To get there early is on time and showing up on time is late


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