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News & Views Spice price rise heats up curry costs

There are reports that many restau- rants are having to put up the costs of their curries, following significant increases in the price of key spices, such as tumeric, cumin, chilli powder, rice and coconut. Some restaurant owners say that the price of a typical container of tumeric has gone from £22 to £58 while cumin has more than doubled from £31 to £65, chilli powder from £34 to £70 and basmati rice from £20 to £44.

The reason seems to be the weak pound, which has made once cheap spices very

expensive. There are also more regula- tions covering the import of spices into the country, which has added to their cost. To make things worse, the cost of meats like lamb has also doubled, while other costs such as electricity and gas, as well as VAT, have risen sharply.

While restaurants are passing on some of the extra costs, through price rises, this is not always possible. Many have had to absorb much of the increase themselves to prevent customers going elsewhere.

Turmeric lowers post-surgery heart risk

The spice turmeric, found in most cur- ries, may help ward off heart attacks in people who have had recent bypass surgery, according to a study carried out by the Chiang Mai University in Thailand. Curcimins - the yellow pig- ment in turmeric - has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce the risk faced by patients, when added to traditional drug treatment.

While the results need to be confirmed through further research, the signs are said to be optimistic. The research- ers studied 121 patients who had non-

emergency bypass surgery at their hospital between 2009 and 2011. Half of those patients were given one- gram curcumin capsules to take four times a day, starting three days before their surgery and continuing for five days afterwards. The other half took the same number of drug-free placebo capsules.

The researchers found that during their post-bypass hospital stays, 13 per cent of patients who’d been taking curcum- ins had a heart attack, compared to 30 per cent in the placebo group.

Owner could face prison after hygiene breaches at restaurant

A restaurant owner may face jail after being found guilty of a whole host of food hygiene breaches. Environmental health officers from Erewash Borough Council found numerous problems during several visits to Rajni in the Derbyshire town of Borrowash.

Food was at risk of contamination, staff was wearing dirty aprons and a hole was found in the kitchen ceiling, a court was told. Southern Derbyshire magistrates ordered the owner, Susan Hossain, to appear before a crown court judge in May this year after saying the violations “crossed the custody threshold.”

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The problems have since been addressed, the restaurant says, by the appointment of a new chef and man- ager. A further inspection earlier this year was a success, it is claimed.

May/June 2012

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