BMC cracks down on illegal ice vendors, juice centres following E.coli threat

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has started a drive against roadside food vendors, juice centres, illegal ice vendors and eateries after its recent survey found presence of E.coli bacteria in 75% of ice and water samples collected from the said places

BMC cracks down on illegal ice vendors, juice centres following E.coli threat
BMC’s staff destroys ice seized at illegal ice vendors’ stalls and juice centres as well as roadside eateries in M east ward on May 8 (Monday)

In a major crack down, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has taken action against illegal ice vendors and juice centres in M East ward on May 8 (Monday). BMC took this step after it’s special survey and lab test of ice and water samples collected from city’s roadside eateries found that 96% of them were unfit for human consumption and 75% of them carried E.coli bacteria.

The corporation has started the drive to take action against roadside food vendors, juice centres and illegal eateries.

“In L Kurla ward, we found 207 gastro cases in April and there is a steady rise of such cases in the city. The recently collected samples of ice and juice from roadside stalls and shops, we found 74% E.coli bacteria. Action is being taken  against these vendors and I appeal to public to avoid outside food, ice and water,” said Padmaja Keskar, Executive Health Officer, BMC.

The survey was started on April 1 and was done by the corporation’s health department. The results prompted the civic body to issue a warning to Mumbaikars to avoid consumption of ice or water from roadside stalls, as the E.coli bacteria could lead to gastroentritis, diarrhoea, cholera, jaundice among others.

The health department had collected water and ice samples from fruit juice centres, sugarcane juice centres, gola vendors, lassi and taak (buttermilk) vendors, fast food stalls and other similar stalls.

The civic body has been cracking the whip on roadside food vendors and sherbet sellers with the help of its ward officer. According to doctors, waterborne ailments like typhoid and hepatitis E are on the rise this summer.

Dr Hemant Thakkar, General Physician from Breach Candy Hospital, said, “Almost 20 to 25 patients visit us with stomach infections every day. Generally, it occurs in young and middle aged groups.”

Doctors said most of these victims of waterborne diseases are in age group of 30 to 50 years.

Dr Pratit Samdhani, General Physician from Jaslok Hospital, said, “Such stomach infections are being witnessed excessively these days because of people consuming roadside hawkers’ food, exposed food, and also the shortage of water has which has forced people to consume water from tanks. They evens tore water for days and then consume it, this has also led to the growth of such stomach infections.”

He said majority of patients visiting him complain of vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration which lasts for about 15-20 days, low blood pressure, kidney damage and food poisoning.

Doctors are happy that the corporation is taking proactive measures and testing ice and water samples so that people can be warned.

“The roadside coolers are the prime reason behind the sudden rise in gastroenteritis cases this summer. The soaring temperature had led to many seeking out quick concoctions to quench their thirst, generally from roadside stalls. This is also a reason of stomach infections,” said Thakkar.

BMC survey finds E.coli in 75% ice samples