Roadside vendors selling substandard juices

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April 06, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Sale of hazardous cold drinks prepared in poor hygienic conditions is one of the major causes for seasonal diseases among children in summer.

The spawning of flies, mosquitoes and other pests during this time of the year makes these poorly protected drinks even more injurious. A large number of sellers of unhygienic and spurious beverages have appeared on roads of twin cities, posing serious health hazards to the public.

The roadside vendors have appeared in large numbers to sell substandard drinks, especially outside schools and in various commercial localities during the recent weeks. The drinks include different kinds of juices, including apricot, tamrind, lemon and fruit juices. Many vendors are also selling juices of stale oranges at low prices, especially near the railway station and bus and wagon stands.

Majority of the juice vendors do not observe any safety standards while washing their utensils in which they serve juices to their customers. Moreover, drinks are sometimes sold in reused bottles that are not cleaned properly. The vendors’ utensils and bottles can easily transmit different bacteria and viruses to costumers.

Although the sale of unhygienic food items continues throughout the year without any check from the authorities, summer demand for cold drinks and the new cycle of diseases exacerbates the situation. An eminent health expert at a local hospital, Dr Aftab Ali told The Express Tribune that food adulteration had always been a major contributor to the health problems of people due to ineffective control of the authorities concerned. He said every summer the situation aggravates as hot weather forces people to take drinks, which they would have not risked in other seasons. He also warned that substandard drinks and edibles may cause diseases like typhoid, hepatitis, diarrhea, different kinds of infections and tonsillitis.

The doctor claimed that the ratio of these diseases increased to around 50 per cent in the summer because of unhygienic food and drinks. He demanded that the government immediately impose a ban on the sale of unhygienic food, especially outside schools.

He felt that if such a ban was not possible, the government should direct roadside sellers to adopt strict safety measures like using disposable utensils and properly covering edibles. He said the measures should be implemented strictly and action be taken against the violators. He advised people to avoid eating food from roadside stalls and urged that they use only boiled, filtered or mineral drinking water

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