Aluminium particles from the devices mix with the juice
The Coimbatore Corporation's health wing seized on Thursday fruit crushers from roadside stalls at Race Course in the city, stating that aluminium particles from these got mixed with the juice sold to people flocking to the stalls to beat the summer heat.
Sanitary Inspectors Zakir Hussain and V. Ramachandran, who carried out the raids on the stalls, said the aluminium particles caused problems in the kidneys and intestines.
“Any inorganic material can cause problem when it enters the body through the digestive system,” Mr. Hussain explained.
Mr. Ramachandran had spent a couple of days visiting the stalls and examining the glasses that had aluminium deposits.
Convinced that the root of the problem was in the fruit crushers, the health wing launched a crackdown on the stalls.
The stalls mostly sold the juice of sweet lime, which was a citrus fruit.
The juice was acidic and its prolonged presence on the crusher would lead to the aluminium peeling off, it was pointed out.
It was found that instead of washing the crushers with hot water periodically to avoid the problem, those running the stalls were allowing the acidic content to accumulate on the equipment.
This led to fine aluminium particles peeling off the crush and mixing with the juice, the officials explained.
The officials said they found a layer of aluminium deposit at the bottom of the glass tumblers.
“We, however, have lifted samples of the juice and sent these to a laboratory for tests to confirm the risks to health in it,” Mr. Hussain said.
About 20 to 30 such juice stalls had come up at Gandhipuram, D.B. Road (R.S. Puram) and V.O.C. Park as the heavy flow of public in these areas brought good business during summer, the officials said.
Some of the stalls smelt trouble from the health wing's situation assessment exercise and changed their location.
Some others bought new crushers to avoid action during the actual raid, Mr. Hussain said. But, the drive would be sustained, they said.