This summer, stay away from cold drinks, juices and even cold water sold on the streets: more than 70% of ice samples civic officials collected from street stalls were contaminated with the E.Coli bacteria, which causes diarrhoea, urinary tract infection, anaemia and even kidney failures.
In two separate operations, civic officials and officials from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) of Maharashtra seized more than 23,000kg of contaminated ice from Mumbai and Thane. As a precaution, the civic officials have destroyed the stock of juices and cold drinks from 135 spots across the city.
The move comes after the infectious control department said more than 916 cases of gastroenteritis — an intestinal infection marked by diarrhoea, cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever — were reported in April alone.
Kurla (207 cases), Govandi (97), Ghatkopar (92), Malad (79), Santacruz (70), Chembur (64), Dahisar (48) and Bandra (34) were hit the worst. “Gastroenteritis spreads through contaminated water, mostly during the monsoons. The reason it’s spreading in the summer is because people are consuming contaminated ice and juices from the streets,” health officials said.
FDA commissioner Dr Harshdeep Kamblesaid the issue starts at the factories and wholesale stores where ice is stored in unhygienic conditions. “These ice factories come up during the four months of summer. They make both edible and non-edible ice. While our officers are trying to find these factories, their sheer numbers makes it difficult to regulate,” said Dr Kamble.