WITH the rise in the mercury, the supply of adulterated soft drinks, juices and bottled water is increasing in the provincial capital, resulting in spread of various diseases among the citizens.
Officials in the City District Government Lahore’s Food department claimed that more than 45 per cent soft drinks, juices and mineral water bottles being sold in the City were adulterated and spurious. They said increase in the heat wave raised the demand of soft drinks, juices and bottled water while many roadside vendors had also established stalls for selling different liquids. They said a number of manufacturing units of adulterated soft drinks, juices and mineral water were set up in the city, especially in the residential areas of sub urban localities like the Bund Road, Basin, Manawan, Chuhng, North Lahore and Kahna.
On the other hand, citizens have no awareness regarding the issue while the government is not taking up the problem seriously. Manufacturers of adulterated and spurious soft drinks, juices and mineral water use untreated tap water, which is not fit for drinking.
Majority of manufacturers of such drinks purchase used bottles of soft drinks and mineral water, which the consumers throw in garbage. These bottles are collected by garbage collectors to sell to the manufacturers of spurious soft drinks. These bottles include both disposable plastic bottles as well as glass bottles.
A senior official of the Food department said the bottles were not washed properly and in many cases one could witness suspended particulars inside the drink of a packed bottle. He said the harmful bacterial contamination, present in the bottles, could not be washed out with normal tap water-the method used by most of the manufacturers.
He said such contamination could only be removed if the bottles were washed in high temperature but in such case the disposable bottles could become shapeless so the manufacturers put them in normal tap water to clean the visible filth.
Another official of the Food department said the manufacturers of adulterated and spurious drinks used new and old caps of bottles. He said manufacturers of such drinks also used hazardous food colours and chemicals in the bottles for the purpose of establishing the taste and colour of their products.
The cost of a crate comprising 24 standard size bottle of an adulterated soft drink did not cost more than Rs30, the Food department sources said, adding that a crate was being sold to shopkeepers at the rate of Rs110 while the shopkeepers were selling it at Rs240 to the heat-stricken consumers. The entire project of establishing a unit of manufacturing adulterated soft drinks, juices or mineral water unit was not more than Rs30,000, they claimed.
Nusrat Hashmi, a general physician, said the banned food colours in adulterated and spurious soft drinks, juices and bottled water were very dangerous for health as it could cause hepatitis, stomach diseases and typhoid, especially in children.
A consumer could easily identify a fake or adulterated soft drink, said another official of the Food department. He said one could witness suspended particulars in bottles in most cases. The colour of the plastic bottle might be fainted or its plastic gave a rough look, he said, adding that in case of a soft drink one could see that after shaking the bubbles being produced in an adulterated bottle died very soon. He advised the consumers to start puncturing plastic bottles of soft drinks, juices or mineral water so that they should not be reused.
When contacted, Chief Food Inspector Chaudhry Ayub did not receive call on hi mobile phone. No other official of the Food department of the CDGL was available for official comments
Source: The News