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98% samples of edible ice test positive for deadly E. coli bacteria in Mumbai

Out of 410 samples, collected between March 1 and 31, 400 tested positive for the deadly bacteria

mumbai Updated: Apr 11, 2018 00:18 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,BMC,E coli
Doctors from public hospitals said contaminated ice, sales of which go up in summer, is a primary cause for increase in waterborne diseases. (Pic for representation )

After a recent test revealed that 98% edible ice samples collected were contaminated with the deadly E. coli — a bacteria which causes diarrhoea and urinary tract infection — public health officials have warned citizens against consuming chilled beverages from roadside stalls.

Out of 410 samples of edible ice collected from street vendors, shops and restaurants between March 1 and 31, 400 samples tested positive for E. coli.

“The moment E. coli if detected, we term that sample contaminated and unfit for human consumption. During the survey, we also visited more 15 factories that manufacture and sell edible ice. Here too, most samples were found to be contaminated. We destroyed more than 14,700kg of ice,” said Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Doctors from public hospitals said contaminated ice, sales of which go up in summer, is a primary cause for increase in waterborne diseases.

“Hot and humid climate is a major reason behind people opting for juices sold by roadside vendors. Drinking beverages using contaminated ice also causes serious gastrointestinal complications. The number of cases has increased significantly in the past one month,” said a physician from KEM Hospital.

In May 2016, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) — country’s apex food regulator — issued a directive mandating state governments to take punitive action against people found using ice made from contaminated water. Earlier this year, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) had asked ice manufacturers to dye inedible ice in blue, so it is not used in drinks.

“Major issue is inability of the civic or state officials to regulate the ice factories since majority of them mushroom during four months of summer. Sheer number of the factories, makes it impossible to crack down on the source of contaminated ice,” said a top FDA official.

First Published: Apr 11, 2018 00:18 IST