“Pirate” tortillas: How can they affect your health?

Written in ECONOMY the

In recent months, given the rise in the prices of inputs for the production of tortillas, some manufacturers began to look for ways to reduce costs and maintain their sales. Although not all did it in the best way and even began to make “pirate” tortillas.

According to Blanca Mejía, president of the Red de Maíz, some tortilla makers left the formal trade to lower costs and thereby maintain sales, at the cost of reducing the quality of the product and add more lime or recycle old tortillasstop paying wages and even move to informality.

Added to this is another risk for the “pirate” tortilla market that this group has identified, which is the use of products of illicit origin, from gas and machinery to the flour itself.

“Customers are buying ‘pirate’ tortillas; It is this tortilla that is not known where it is produced, by businesses that no longer pay social security to reduce costs, they do not have training in health regulations, ”he warned in an interview for Grupo Formula.

Added to this are the clandestine tortilla factories, which according to Rubén Montalvo Morales, president of the National Chamber of the Dough and Tortilla Production Industry, is a current phenomenon that requires great care, especially due to dubious hygiene. with which the food is made, present in most of the tables of Mexican families.

And while it is not easy to identify “pirate” tortillas, it is possible that they are offered at prices much lower than the current 20 pesos that a kilo costs in most stores, such as cold tortillas, that is, pre-packaged and They are not fresh out of the machine, in establishments such as stores and sundries, collection stores, greengrocers, chicken stores and even pharmacies.

What are the risks of consuming “pirate” tortillas?

The irregular production of tortillas implies that the hygiene and health conditions for the handling, storage and processing of the inputs to make the tortillas are unknown.

In Mexico, there is NOM-251-SSA1-2009, which establishes the hygiene conditions for food production, among which it is noted that tortilla factories must ensure, among other things, that the grain they receive is free of mold, insect infestations and that has the characteristic color for use in the manufacture of tortillas.

In addition, it must be considered that tortillas, according to the UNAM Foundation, contain minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, niacin and vitamins A, C, D, E, B1 and B2. The combination of vitamins C and D with calcium helps to fix it in bones, according to the academic Berenice Montaño Gómez, from that university.

Therefore, among the risks of consuming pirate tortillas are:

  • The possibility of contracting gastrointestinal diseases due to the lack of clarity in the conditions in which they were manufactured and the inputs that were used.
  • The possible little or no obtaining of the nutrients that tortillas usually contain.
  • The consumption of non-controlled substances or flours other than corn or with excess lime for their production and lowering the costs of “pirate” tortillas.

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