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Fizz fizzles out

Post pesticide-in-cola storm, fruit juices sparkle on shelves of school canteens, reports Sonal Srivastava.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 14:41 IST

The fizz continues to remain out of aerated drinks, at least in schools. Ever since the pesticide-in-cola controversy broke out, schools in the Cap ital have increasingly replenished the canteen shelves with fresh lime and canned fruit juices with the health of the children in mind.

At Modern School, Barakhamba Road, coconut water and lichi juice are now the alternatives to fizz drinks and other canned juices. Informs the school principal, Lata Vaidyanathan, “A team of parents, teachers and children decided the menu for the school, ensuring that it’s a healthy option for the kids.”

Agrees Ameeta M Wattal, principal of Springdales School, PUSA Road, “It’s important to take care of the food ethics. The children should get the best at the most affordable prices.”

The school is offering dairy products like buttermilk, and fruit juices as healthy options. Other schools too are stocking fruit juices for kids, who need extra ener gy for their hyper activity. Modern day children, - as expected, are not ill-informed ei ther. Your average ten-year-old knows that his favourite cold drink is allegedly infested with pesticides.

Says Rhea Kumar, a Std. V stu dent of Sri Ram School: “The cold drinks have pesticides, so we now drink fruit juices in school.” Mridu la Bhatia, a student of St. Georges, says, “Aerated drinks are banned in school ever since the controversy happened. And I’m OK with what is now available in the school.”

Relief factor: However, with fizzy drinks going off the school can teen menu, parents are heaving a sigh of relief.

Says Archana Bhatia, a - mother of two and manager with a - real estate company, “ I was never in favour of serving colas to kids, but owing to peer pressure, they were an easy prey. I’m glad that aerated cold drinks have given way to healthier - options in school.”

Agrees investment banker Sagar Chopra, who is a father of two school-going kids, “Hopefully, the controversy will make children un derstand that they should stay away from unhealthy drinks until they meet the specified standards.”

Juicy therapy: Now that the schools have replaced aerated drinks, the question is how healthy are these substitutes? Says child specialist Dr Prabhat Bhushan, “There is no substitute to natural fruits. The tetra packs available in the market have a high glucose level and have preservatives too. As far as pesticides are concerned, their status is not clear.”

Adds Dr Samarajit P Chakrabarty, “Though canned juices are high on glucose, they are better than colas which can cause loss of calcium to the bones. But one has to be cautious with juices as they are high on glucose.”

Wellness consultant Dr Shikha Sharma feels, “People shouldn’t have those canned juices which have only fruit essence just like a strawberry toffee would have — such juices are as harmful as the colas.” It seems better to stick to the tiffin mommy made.

First Published: Aug 20, 2006 16:05 IST