I have done an ad hoc, so to speak, research on these machines. Initially, I was interested in them because of their idea/design but upon “researching” to purchase one of these machines from local “builders” I found them to be unhygienic, if not poisonous, only because the metals used to make these rudimentary machines are not food-grade materials.
The grating blades are, for the most part, made of tin, a metal prone to rusting when exposed to moisture. The screws utilized through the machine are 12L14 carbon steel or of the like which reacts with moisture as does the tin, the motor spindle (which spins the blade) is also of similar material. I’ve seen some machines with improvised hold down screws (screws used to fasten the [grater] blades to the motor spindle) made of brass or die-cast nut and washer. These metals react to moisture; that is water or the natural acidity of fruits or vegetables. The acids in natural fruits and vegetables degrade (or age) te metal rapidly causing patina or rust at a much faster rate than they would in natural air, where metal such as steel, brass, copper show their age over years via rust and patina these machines and their exposure to natural acids my age by the time the machine(s) are used the second time.
To put it in a better perspective think of the Brooklyn bridge exposed to air or how the Statue of Liberty turned green. If these machines aren’t made of 304 stainless steel, food-grade aluminum, [food grade] bronze, and/or [food grade] plastics, such as Teflon – stay away from these machines! You run the risk of getting incurable diseases or death.
The risks include arsenic poisoning, tinnitus, copper poisoning, salmonella, etc. I am not trying to scare anyone, it is the truth. Do the research yourself, if you own one or knows someone who does, or who makes them, look a the [most or recently] used machines if you see any rust or patina (green in color) then it is a machine-made with inferior metals. These machines can be made and can be made safe if stainless steel (mostly 304) is used throughout or/with other food-grade materials, that could be purchased cheaply. Which brings up another matter. The cost of these machines is prohibitive for what is at best, a rudimentary, machine. I built a pastele machine (just as an experiment) in the same way the local builders do it and found it only cost me between $15 to $35 with parts purchased from Home Depot Lowes, and a broken washing machine and/or fan (free)motor to build one.
I am a trained machinist and I am experienced with mechanical parts and metals and I strongly suggest not attempting to build such a machine if you don’t have the experience. A handyman isn’t the same as an experienced tradesman. You may hurt yourself or others or worse if you do not know what you are really doing. And NO! I am not selling the machine I built. To reiterate, I am not trying to scare anyone, I am not trying to ruin a traditional meal or nor am I attempting to take it away from anyone. I am just playing it safe. The homemade machines that are out there, being sold until now, are my proof of this.
Do the research! If you have been eating pasteles, made from these machines for some time please get yourself checked by a medical doctor. Chances are you may have contracted something. Just because you’re not sick now doesn’t mean your healthy.
Story from Community Member