Beware!Fruit juices can kill

Beware!Fruit juices can kill
Highlights

There is no denying that like water being the elixir of life, fruit juice is the best health and nutritional potion for everyone. And that is precisely the marketing point on which every juice-seller from the big-time player to the street-side vendor thrives on. It is ditto for the juice shops dotting every thoroughfare in the twin cities.

Sapota, pineapple, sweet lime and grape juices are on high demand when compared to others and the vendors peel and keep them in an uncovered container much before consumption, which attracts flies, which are a major source of contamination

  • 96.6% of fruit juices in the city are near-fatal
  • Sapota juice is the most contaminated
  • Old City highly vulnerable

There is no denying that like water being the elixir of life, fruit juice is the best health and nutritional potion for everyone. And that is precisely the marketing point on which every juice-seller from the big-time player to the street-side vendor thrives on. It is ditto for the juice shops dotting every thoroughfare in the twin cities.

But one better be warned that for all its nutritional richness, the next sip you from street vendor could be near-fatal. And the warning comes from eminently qualified experts from the hugely respected Tarnaka-based National Institute of Nutrition (NIN). Findings from its exhaustive study are heart-breaking-there is 77 per cent possibility that you have consumed fecal matter. The latest study findings indicate that 96.6 per cent of fruit juices carry more than one pathogen apart from the deadly fecal matter.

The study team comprised of NIN scientists SGDN Lakshmi Reddi, R Naveen Kumar, N Balakrishna and V Sudershan Rao.They point out that fruit juices are contaminated with fecal colioforms, E. coli, S. aureus and Shigella spp pathogens, which is a combination that every scientist warns against. What is more sapota juice is the most contaminated followed by pineapple, sweet lime and grape. This is a cause for serious concern because people tend to consume these ‘cheaper’ juices and hence become more vulnerable.

“There is great demand for fresh fruit juices in the city because of hot weather conditions from February to August. Sapota, pineapple, sweet lime and grape juices are on high demand when compared to others and the vendors peel and keep them in an uncovered container much before consumption, which attracts flies, which are a major source of contamination,” points out Lakshmi Reddi. Scientists have attributed the presence of fecal matter to the use of borewell water.

“Contamination related to fecal colioforms is due to the use of crushed ice and water used to wash the utensils,” informs Balakrishna. The study indicates that juices sold in the Old City are most contaminated. “Over-crowding and heavy pollution aggravate the situation because demographically the Old City has highest density of population and most are from the lower-income group,” the scientists explain.

The study also indicates that only 60 per cent of vendors have knowledge of contamination of food. “Though the vendors knew that hand washing is required which is a healthy practice, only 4 per cent practiced it. This causes transmission of pathogens like S.aureus,” Balakrishna quips. The biggest irony the study points out is that the ‘materialistic’ vendors have good knowledge of safe food practices but care a damn on abiding by healthy practices.

By:Aditya Parankusam

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