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Peppa needs to be proper



Two of the pizza majors in the country have brought down the curtains on pork pepperoni. But is there more to the move? Team viva finds out the food logic

When Domino’s and Pizza Hut, India’s largest pizza chains, decided to discontinue one of their most popular food items, the pork pepperoni pizza, the move was bound to be hit by a swirl of controversies as the customers were left dismayed. While Jubilant Foodworks, the parent company of Domino’s in India, has cited the lack of demand and unavailability of good quality meat, industry bigwigs have their own take on what ails the pork industry in the country.

Industry insiders believe that climatic and storage conditions in India are not right for meat. “European, American and especially Australian meat, not just pork but chicken, lamb and fish also is any day better than Indian meat,” said Chef Saby of Lavaash, Delhi. “Climatic conditions in India are worse, surroundings in which the pigs are bred are unhygienic, the fodder fed to the cattle and livestock is also of bad quality,” he added.

He also criticised the cattle and livestock rearing, unhygienic conditions of slaughterhouses and the lack of cold storage rooms and cold trucks for transportation.

Zorawar Kalra, mentor and culinary director, Massive Restaurants, went into the culinary history to break the move down further. “India and Indians never used pork as a primary source of meat except for places like Goa or the North East. Chicken and mutton were what were being primarily eaten. The quality of this meat is also suspect. The perception is that it is not up to the mark. Moreover, the demand is also not a lot. As a result, people were not interested in developing the quality. As a producer or purveyor, one develops the quality when there is a demand,” he said.   While he relies on Indian suppliers for his supply of mutton and chicken, for pork he relies on Belgian imports. He points out that there is a good quality supplier in Bangalore but there they have faced supply chain issues.

The Domino’s spokesperson, too, had almost something similar to say about the discontinuation of the pizza in question. “We’re facing a few issues with respect to the consistent supply of right quality pepperoni, hence we are currently not serving pepperoni,” said the spokesperson. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut has limited sales of the pepperoni to some states.

It is being speculated that religious sentiments might be an influencing factor in the decision. However, cost reduction was the primitive reason, according to experts. The meat is more expensive than other meats like chicken bringing down profit margins for the pizza chains.

Besides pork, reared in Indian conditions, are prone to being carriers of dangerous viruses and bacteria.

Moreover, when cooking pork, there are some safety standards to be adhered to. While cooking, the meat has to reach a temperature of 137°F. For well done meat, cook to 165°F. Fattier cuts can be cooked to a higher temperature and still be delicious.

The storage too needs to be done in a manner that it is kept out of the temperature zone in which bacteria, that causes foodborne illness, grows quickly. The danger temperature zone is a range between 40°F and 140°F. Do not leave any pork at room temperature for more than two hours. If cooked pork is not going to be used within four days of cooking, it should be frozen.

Raw or cooked meat can be stored safely in a refrigerator at 40°F or lower for several days.

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