In this scorching heat, the juice stalls seemed like oasis in the middle of deserts. And we really can’t say no when the vendor asks “Ice chahiye kya?” (You want ice?). Little did we know we were having a glassful of E.Coli bacteria , which causes gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, vomiting, food poisoning and other illnesses. This is the latest finding by the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) – 92% of the samples collected from bars, restaurants and roadside food and juice stalls were found having E.Coli in Ice Cubes. The survey was part of a special drive as a precautionary measure before the monsoon season starts – when contaminated water raises health issues.
Following these results, barely a week after bread samples were found to have high Pottassium Bromate , the BMC is planning to request the Food and Drug Administration to inspect the ice-making factories and analyse the ice samples, and if necessary, take strict action if found violating norms.
“The findings have surprised us. The ice samples were collected from sugarcane juice centres , vendors selling pani puri , golas and a few were from restaurants and bars. The samples were tested thrice to confirm the high levels of contamination,”
-Dr Mini Khetrapal , BMC’s Head of epidemiology
However, contrary to popular belief that tap water is unhealthy, samples collected from households did not display high contamination with only 1% of samples (out of 3,317 samples) having E. Coli.
The report of contamination comes at a time when the city is witnessing a slight rise in water borne diseases like gastroenteritis, typhoid and cholera. Around 920 cases of Gastroenteritis, 3 cases of cholera and 113 were reported in May.
With the BMC finding E.Coli in Ice Cubes samples, and rising cases of diseases, Gastroenterologist and endoscopy expert Dr Amit Maydeo says the findings indicate a widespread contamination in drinking water. “A simple way to prevent long-term health damage would be to drink only boiled water”, he says.
Dr KR Debhri, general physician from Thakurdwar advises the public to stay away from street food – specially roadside juice, gola, kulfi and water stalls and should consume mineral or boiled water for the time being.
Be secure about the water you are consuming.If you wish to test water samples, or any presence of E.Coli in Ice Cubes in and around your area, you can send your samples to Equinox Labs. To know more about our services, visit Equinox Labs website