The BMC recently conducted a survey in which it collected around 410 samples of edible ice which revealed that more than 90 per cent edible ice samples collected were contaminated with the Escheria coli (E. coli) bacteria. 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 is 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 of BMC.
She added the E. coli causes diarrhoea and urinary tract infection due to which public health officials have warned citizens against consuming chilled beverages from roadside stalls. Doctors from public hospitals said contaminated ice, sales of which go up in summer, is a primary cause for an increase in waterborne diseases. “As the temperature is high due to which 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.