District Collector P.G. Thomas has issued orders banning the production and sale of sip-ups (a form of ice-cream packed in plastic tubes) and use of ice in shops selling fruit juices in the district for a period of three weeks.
The order, issued under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, comes into force with immediate effect, and has been issued in the wake of a hepatitis A threat looming large in Kollam.
The Collector issued the orders while acting upon an alert sounded in a report submitted by epidemiologist Rakesh P.S. attached to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project, Kollam, through the District Medical Officer on Friday.
The report says that ice used for edible purposes and sip-ups is made from water of “terribly poor” quality.
In the order banning these two products, the Collector said the quality of these two products provided sufficient ground for banning their sale to prevent the spread of hepatitis A.
The report says that ice for edible purpose is largely drawn from streams and ponds that contain water unfit for drinking. Such ice is manufactured under licence for the fishing industry, but it is also sold for edible purposes.
The Collector has directed the District Food Safety Officer to strictly enforce the order with the help of the police.
Complaints or information on sale of the banned products can be passed on to the food safety officer on phone number 0474 2766950.
Any shops using ice should ensure that it is made from water that is safe for drinking.
The report has also expressed concern over the quality of drinking water supplied in tanker lorries and other vehicles.
Supply, a business
Since the supply has become a business, even water of poor quality is being sold to people. The report calls for strict regulations in this supply.
In tanker lorries
In view of this observation, the Collector has issued an order that water should be purchased only from those persons who have the permit issued by the Food Safety Officer, and the licence should be displayed.
All vehicles engaged in distributing drinking water should prominently display that it is for drinking water purpose.
When not for drinking
If the water is transported for any other purpose, the vehicle should display “not for drinking water purpose” signs.
This is mainly because water meant for construction purposes is also sold as drinking water.
The inner portion of the tanks carrying drinking water should be coated with permitted coating material.