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Dubai: The food authority in Abu Dhabi has debunked a viral video spreading on WhatsApp and social networking sites over plastic lettuce sold in shops.

The video shows footage of a woman washing romain lettuce leaves in hot water, and then as she peels off a thin transparent layer from the vegetable, claims that it is plastic.

“The transparent crusts are part of the natural outer layer of the lettuce leaf, which consists mostly of edible natural wax containing multiple sugars,” the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) was quoted in the Arabic daily Al Roeya.

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“The layer is a natural protection that lettuce leaves have in order to protect them from attacking fungi and insects. So there is no truth to the claims in the video,” said ADFCA.  

“All types of lettuce in the UAE are suitable for human consumption, and should be washed thoroughly.”   

Fake news surrounding romain lettuce started circulating online to as early as 2012 and resurfaced once again in April 2018.

According to the fact checker website, the alleged plastic coating was the epidermal or the skin layer of the lettuce

A February 2012 blog post by organic food grocer Albert’s Fresh Produce explained:

“There is a video circulating on the internet showing romaine lettuce with what appears to be a ‘plastic coating’ peeling off the lettuce. We have received quite a few inquiries about this and wanted to address the concern. This ‘coating’ is actually the epidermal of the lettuce and not plastic, which is why consumers of both organic and conventionally grown product have noticed the affect. It has nothing to do with anything that has been applied externally to the product.”