Visakhapatnam: As the commercial demand for ice cubes surges in the city with the rise in temperature, some ice-making units in a bid to make a fast buck are violating safety norms supplying substandard ice cubes to the vendors. According to rule, only chlorinated water and potable water should be used as a source to prepare edible ice. However, many ice units are defying the rule to ensure good profit margin. The inspection carried out by the food safety officials seems to be not enough to curb the bad practice of ice-making units as it is coming to light every summer.
Road-side juice centres which look out for ice cubes at cheaper price are the main target of the ice-making units. An employee of an ice-making unit located in Old Town area pointed out that low quality ice cubes are being sold by fly-by-night operators who disappear after summer.
GVMC food safety inspector G. Venkata Apparao admitted that substandard ice cubes are being supplied by the ice-making units as what they found in recent raids conducted by them at juice centres. “We filed a case against a juice centre near Chitralaya. The ice cube samples confirmed presence of E.Coli bacteria, which causes food poisoning symptoms such as abdominal cramps and diarrhoea if consumed. People should also not go for juices added with such ice cubes for their safety.” “As summer is round the corner, we will be conducting a special search to monitor the ice-making units and juice centres besides the fruit markets where carbides are used to ripen the fruits. The industrial areas are our main focus,” he added. When contacted, food and drug controller B. Hanumantha Rao of three districts – Vizag, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam, said they were raiding ice-making units, but needed more manpower to make it more frequent as they would have to attend court cases.
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