M. Sai Gopal
It is impossible to differentiate between edible ice and industrial ice, say officials
HYDERABAD: The quality and safety of large quantities of ice, being consumed by general public in parties, marriages, at roadside juice and Lassi stalls this summer in the capital, is not assured. Thanks to the summer, consumption of ice has increased; however, district health authorities have not done enough to assure its safety.
There’s no differentiation between edible ice and ice meant for industrial use. In other words, ice meant for industrial use, for preserving meat, fruits and goods meant for export, can end up in your glass of cool mango juice. The ice being consumed this summer by one and all could have been made from any source and not necessarily from Manjeera water.
Experts agree that ice could be a major source behind the spate of diarrhoeal cases in twin cities this summer. “Public should not consume ice sold along the roadside. Ice-creams, kulfi, pudina water and juices laced with ice should be avoided. This is mandatory to avoid infections,” says National Institute of Nutrition Director Dr. B. Sesikeran. Only chlorinated water and water supplied by the water board should be used as a source to prepare edible ice. How many companies preparing ice adhere to these rules? The district food inspectors do not have the required expertise to differentiate between industrial and edible ice.
“Food inspectors can’t distinguish between the two. We are trying to force companies to make industrial ice blue in colour. But, till now we have not received any cooperation. Ideally, public should avoid consuming ice being sold at public places,” says Dr. M. Jayaram, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Twin cities have 23 ice manufacturing companies while Ranga Reddy district has 40 and most of them are into production of industrial ice, implying that the source could be anything but Manjeera water. There is no mechanism, like regular bacterial tests, to check whether these companies are using potable water to make ice. “We are planning to intensify our drive very soon,” assured Dr. Jayaram.