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Soft drinks and hard reality

The popular drink ‘kuluki sherbet’ is under the scanner of the Food Safety Department.
While soft drinks are a welcome respite from the searing summer heat, they are also perhaps the ones that people need to be most wary of.
There are innumerable licensed and non-licensed companies rolling out crates of soft drinks that mimic branded products available in the market.
“The Food Safety Department has no comprehensive data on the total number of people in the business, and there could be fly-by-night companies that come up during the season to make the kill,” said a senior official in the district.
The “kulukki sherbet” is a popular cool drink found on roadsides. Food Safety officials will check the quality of water used, the use of colours, and other aspects of hygiene such as the ware used to serve the drinks and the water used to clean the utensils.
In a city where groundwater is already polluted, the hot and humid climate that assists the growth of bacteria and other microbes has only worsened the situation. Water could get contaminated easily if one is not careful.
Officials of the Food Safety Department have been involved in an awareness programme for the last two weeks, and will close down any outlet that is not following norms on serving clean cool drinks.
“The issue of contaminated ice was a major issue two years ago, but regular awareness classes have been effective,” said K.V. Shibu, the Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety, Ernakulam. Most of the units manufacturing and selling soft drinks were found using edible ice.
“Migrants selling ice creams and ice candy will also come under the scanner of the Department,” Mr. Shibu said.

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