Remember National Egg Coordination Committee's slogan, “Sunday ho ya Monday, roz khao ande (Be it Sunday or Monday, have an egg every day)”? Mind the last word, it is ande (eggs) and not anda (egg), I would argue with my mother as a child, in a bid to convince her to part with at least two eggs as part of my daily ration. Whether I succeeded or not is another story. Sigh.
Now, one would have to think twice before acceding to his or her child's request. For all the proteins that a humble egg packs in itself, having an egg might be a health hazard, if the reports of fake eggs flooding the Kerala markets are anything to go by. A regional TV news channel 'exposed' the fake eggs being sold in the markets of Idukki district, following which there have been reports of raids and confiscation of the fake eggs in other parts of the state, too.
Health Minister K.K. Shylaja has, reportedly, directed the state food safety commissioner to probe the matter.
Though the origins of the 'Chinese' eggs, as they are being referred to, are yet to be known, some reports suggest they are coming in from Tamil Nadu.
How to check for 'Chinese eggs'
There is little in terms of appearance to differentiate between a real and a fake egg. The shell of the fake egg is slightly harder and rougher than that of a real one and there is a rubbery lining inside the shell.
On tapping a fake egg lightly, you will hear a less crisper sound than you would hear in case of a real egg.
If you break the egg and keep it for some time, the egg white and the yolk will soon mix with one another, since they are essentially made from the same ingredients.
The fake eggs do not stink even if cooked and kept in the open for days, and do not attract ants or flies.
When you fry a fake egg, the yolk will be spread without being touched unlike a real egg.
How they are made
The fake egg white is made by mixing sodium alginate to warm water, and then adding gelatin, alum and benzoic acid to the mixture.
The same mixture is used to make both the yolk, by adding a yellow colouring agent, and to make the fake egg membrane, by adding calcium chloride to it.
The fake egg shell is made from calcium carbonate, paraffin wax and gypsum powder.
And if you are wondering why take all the trouble to produce artificial eggs, then know this—it is much quicker to make an egg than to wait for a hen to lay one!