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Updated: April 25, 2013 00:57 IST

Contaminated ice: four plants closed down

Staff Reporter
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Food Safety officials collect ice samples from a factory in Kochi on Wednesday. Photo: Special Arrangement
Food Safety officials collect ice samples from a factory in Kochi on Wednesday. Photo: Special Arrangement

Food Safety officials have closed down four ice plants in the district after the units were found using chemically contaminated water for making ice.

Officials have also sought police protection for the factories that were closed down following threats that the units would be forcibly opened the next day.

K. Ajithkumar, Food Safety Officer, Ernakulam, has filed a police complaint in this regard.

Mixed with chemicals

Inspections held at the ice plants at Thoppumpady, Kochi Harbour and Perumbavoor revealed that water mixed with chemicals such as formalin and ammonia were used for making ice. Of the 24 ice samples tested earlier, four samples were found contaminated.

Samples of ice, collected during the first week of April, were tested at the Regional Analytical Laboratory, Kakkanad.

Raids were held in the factories on Wednesday from where the contaminated samples were obtained, he said.

Ice samples were provided to the factory owners for them to conduct tests.

The samples collected by the Food Safety officials would be tested at a lab shortly, said Mr. Ajithkumar.

The inspections held in Kochi were part of the State-wide drive against the use of contaminated ice.

Formalin is generally used as a preservative. Ice made with water containing formalin is used to preserve fish. Ammonia-mixed ice made the fish look fresh, said Mr. Ajithkumar.

Health hazards

M.K. Mukundan, director, Council for Food Development and Research, Konni, said the use of chemicals such as formalin and ammonia in ice could lead to health hazards. Formalin could arrest the digestive process. It kills bacteria and prevents bacterial spoilage. Ammonia is available in gas and liquid forms.

It can also suppress bacterial activities. Food contaminated with ammonia could also upset the digestive process, he said.

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