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Kolkata municipalty suggests coloured industrial ice to stop indiscriminate use

31,July, 2017
KOLKATA: From now the ice manufacturers in the city will need to give an identification mark to industrial ice in order to distinguish it from edible ice. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation will send notices to city’s ice manufacturers asking them to colour the industrial ice as a mark so that the buyers do not get confused. Now, industrial ice is being widely used not only in preservation of fish, but often used in fruit juice parlours preparing sarbat or in beetel shops while edible ice is being used mostly in restaurants, clubs and bars.

The matter was revealed after a Kolkata Municipal Corporation health department officials conducted a raid in the New Market area a couple of times on June 22. Tons of industrial ice were seized from fruit or sarbat sellers and destroyed. The raid was followed by a surprise visit to a large ice factory in south Kolkata. The team of the KMC health department officials led by Atin Ghosh, the member, mayor-in-council overseeing the KMC health found that two types of ice–industrial and edible– were being manufactured in the same factory.

As the KMC authorities took up the matter with Bengal food safety commissioner’s office, the latter advised the civic body to take up the issue serious as the Centre was also worried over the quality of ice being sold in different states. On Friday a panel of food safety experts expressed concerns over use of industrial ice in food items. "The use of industrial ice in juice sarbat is a matter of great concern and we need to deal it with utmost seriousness. Even we should no longer allow use of industrial ice for preservation of fish. Such ice contains coliform bacteria and can pose serious health threat," said Jagabandhu Chakraborty, the former director of Central food laboratory. Chakraborty was one of the speakers who spoke at length against industrial ice at a panel discussion on uses of ice held at the KMC headquarters. Godhuli Mukherjee, state’s food safety commissioner also gave her opinion against use of industrial ice in preservation of fish or in food items and drinks. Atin Ghosh, said that a committee would be formed to suggest ways and means to ban use of industrial ice in food and drinks or for preservation of fish.

Mayor Sovan Chatterjee later said that the civic body would be forced to take stern action if the ice manufacturers or businessmen failed to take adequate steps to ensure that industrial ice was being used in food and drinks.

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