Contaminated well abandoned

The coli form count in the sample of the food supplement exceeded prescribed limits and hence was unsafe.

KOCHI: Contamination of water sources in the form of e-coli bacteria creeping into the food of toddlers has been detected at Edathala in Ernakulam district forcing the Kudumbasree unit which makes the food supplement to abandon a water source. The Regional Analytical Laboratory (RAL) at Kakkanad after analysing the samples of the Amrutham food supplement supplied by the Kudumbasree unit to children below three-and-a-half years at anganwadis detected that the coli form count in the sample of the food supplement exceeded prescribed limits and hence was unsafe.

The Kudumbasree unit has since abandoned the well which is the water source it used to draw water in the making of the food supplement. However, it is learnt that the whole lot was distributed to anganwadis. Tani Thomas, district co-ordinator, Kudumbasree, told DC that the waste dumped by a soft drink maker near the well could be the source for contaminating the water source and the unit has since moved to tube well to avoid this. She also said that no health issues to the children have been reported so far.

“There are 10 units making Amrutham in the district and we make periodic inspections so as to maintain high safety standards there. Only from Edathala this contamination has been reported,” she said. “Such contamination happens when wheat, which is one among the ingredients used for making the food supplement, is washed,” she said and added that rest of the processes for its making include grinding, mixing and drying of the ingredients.

The food analyst at RAL has also found that the yeast and mould count unsafe. “The yeast and mould count increases due to moisture due to their insecure upkeep in the anganwadis. Anyway this is not so dangerous,” she added. However, a Social Welfare Department official said that Kudumbasree Misssion officials are not making a serious supervision of the activities of the Kudumbasree units and supply of various articles to them, resulting in fail in their standards. “In the case of this food supplement, the dryer units used for making it are not undergoing proper maintenance also,” the official said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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