Does your aatta contain plastic? Here are the facts

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Representative image/Photo: iStock/fcafotodigital

A video that surfaced on social media recently alleges that the ‘Aashirvaad’ brand of aatta (wheat flour) contains plastic. As food items made with atta are consumed regularly and are extremely popular, an investigation was carried out into the matter after an alert was received on our Fact Check number 8129100164.

Search for the truth
The video says that aatta is harmful to you and your children. An Internet search with the keywords led to a post on an X (formerly Twitter) handle which said that even while the company claims that Aashirvaad aatta contains 0 % maida and 100 % atta, the batter has the consistency of rubber. An accompanying short video alleged that the aatta is harmful.

When the post was examined further, it was seen that ITC Private Limited, the owners of the Aashirvaad brand, had given a detailed reply in five parts to the video.

ITC said that the videos circulating on social media alleging that atta contains rubber or plastic were baseless. According to ITC, the videos were an attempt to destroy the trust people have in the brand.

The substance which is alleged to be plastic or rubber is, in reality, wheat protein, said ITC.

This wheat protein is also referred to as gluten and it is the substance which holds the aatta together and gives it elasticity, added ITC.

Under the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006, aatta should have a minimum gluten content of 6 % on a dry mass basis, informed the company.

ITC assured customers that its aatta is totally safe for consumption and is not adulterated at all. The aatta is prepared under a safe process and follows all legal guidelines, said the company.

Meanwhile, ITC has also threatened to launch legal measures against people posting wrong information, videos or statements about its atta.

On further investigation, we found the explanation by the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) on the presence of plastic in wheat flour. The aatta is free of plastic and is totally safe, said FSSAI.

When the search with the keywords was continued, we came across another video posted by the Executive Director of Protein Foods and Nutrition Development Association of India on the presence of gluten in aatta and its importance.

The Executive Director, who is also a doctor, made it clear that the allegations against aatta were totally baseless.

We contacted officials of the Food Safety Authority and health experts to clarify the matter further. “Gluten is a natural protein present in cereals such as wheat and barley,” they said.

“Gluten is a seed storage protein. That means it is stored in the seeds of wheat and barley. Gluten is necessary to prepare bakery items such as bread. Bread, biscuits and chapatis contain gluten, which provides elasticity to food items and makes the preparation of dough easy. Except for people allergic to gluten, it will not create health issues for anybody,” they informed.

Gluten is a protein found naturally in cereals such as wheat. It is gluten - which provides elasticity to food items - that is wrongly referred to as plastic in the videos. The claims made by the videos are totally false.

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