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Wayside soft drink shops under scanner in Kerala

Posted April 20th, 2017, 11:06 AM IST

Wayside soft drink shops under scanner in Kerala

Alappuzha: The Commissionerate of Food Safety launched a special squad to ensure safety of soft drink shops on wayside as it can be causative agent of mass diarrhoea in the summer.

K. Anilkumar, joint commissioner of food safety, said that a five-member team led by an assistant commissioner has been created in every district to control mushrooming wayside soft drink shops which use crushed ice, sarbath and lemon for preparing drinks.

With the mercury rising at an alarming rate these days, carts supplying soft drinks have popped up on the wayside, especially on national and state highway.

For some years now, the district medical office (DMO) had banned sale of fruit juice, welcome drinks, lime juice and Kulukki sarbath' prepared in unhygienic surroundings.

“The team will inspect all shops in the concerned districts and focus on hygiene and ingredients used to prepare drinks.

We found many cases of unhygienic ice in north Kerala. We hope to enforce safety standards with the help of raids in such shops. This year no diarrhoea cases have been reported so far,” Mr Kumar said.

For several years now, soft drinks like lime juice and Kulukki sarbath' have been regular in people's menu during summer. Kochi had become a hot bed of such unconventional drinks.

However, Kulukki sarbath maintains its rock star position in the summer season.

For the last couple of years, the medical wing in the district here had opened a 24-hour functioning control room and the district medical officer (DMO) had urged the district administration to ban these drinks in the wake of number of diarrhoea cases went up.

“We are regular customers at soft drink kiosks, but we were unaware of hygiene of ice pieces being used to prepare it. We opt for it because of its heavenly taste and of course its affordability to our wallets,” says Subhash, a student and an ardent fan of lemonades.

“Owing to the constant demand from fans, soft drinks' now come in an array of flavours — mint, pineapple, strawberry and even masala too. The cost remains the same. You will get this for `10 or `20,” he says.

Last year too the health department and commissionerate of food safety had cracked down on illegal kiosks after it was revealed that ice was manufactured using contaminated water.

Ratheesh from Alappuzha says, “Sale of such drinks, which can cause health hazards, should be curbed.

“According to Kerala Municipal Act, these mobile shops have to secure a licence from the corporation/ Municipality.

The authorities have to take stringent steps to crackdown on illegal kiosks which use ice made of contaminated water,” he demanded.

Vijesh, who run a kulukki sarbath kiosk in Alappuzha-Changanassery road, says he was buying ice from plants where he didn't know how they were prepared.

“We have no intention to serve unhygienic drinks. The authorities have to take action against those who prepare ice pieces,” he said.