Silver Foils



(This is not referring to Silver Baking Foil that is used in the West but to Indian Silver Foil that is used on Sweets)  They are dirty too….

At the end of a meal, do you like to eat a pan, sweet, or perfumed sopari? And then if these things are decorated with silver foils, what more can we want? Many sweets also are decorated with silver foils.

The silver foils are not very expensive. They are sold by weight. Ordinarily, you can buy a packet of 160 foils for a price between Rs. 100 to 200. That is, approximately one rupee per foil. Not only the sweets, now a days it is also applied on fruits. Some Ayurvedic medicines also are wrapped in silver foils.

What do you think? – how are these silver foils made? Hold your breath.

They are made by hammering thin sheets of silver in middle of booklets made of a bull’s intestines. In other words, after slaughtering a bull, quickly his intestines are removed, and sold to the manufacturers of foils. The skins made of old intestines are of no use. Even one-day-old intestines can not be used, because within a few hours they stiffen.

The foil manufacturer removes blood and stools from the intestines, and cuts them into pieces. Then he puts one piece over another, making a booklet out of it. At his home, or in the factory, he puts one silver (or gold) sheet in-between each page. Then he hammers it hard until those metal sheets turn into thin wafers.

The intestines of bulls are so strong, that even repeated hammering do not destroy them, or they do not let the foils move around inside. Because of the hammering, some tissues of the intestine mix with the foils. After that the foil manufacturer sells the bundle of foils to the sweets manufacturers. Some small foil manufacturers sell the foils to the temples.

This foil is not only dirty, it also is non-veg. Even the meat-eaters do not eat intestines. Use of these foils turn even sweets into non-veg food. A few years ago the Indian Airlines learned about this, and since then stopped using them on the sweets served in their planes.


By now, a pan-lover vegetarian person may have eaten equivalent of many miles of oxen intestines! For them, here is an another bad news – the Chuna that they apply on pan, also is not vegetarian! That is made from the shells of living insects. These insects are taken from the ocean, killed, and removed from the shell. Then the shells are softened in water, dried, and ground into white powder. When you put this Chuna in your mouth, you are participating in killing of many insects. This is no different from taking life of a goat or a pig. Everyone wants to live, no one likes the pain of death.

Maneka Gandhi (“Illustrated Weekly of India”)