|Ice being loaded onto a three-wheeler at an ice factory on HCM City's Hoang Huu Nam Road, District 9, before being transported to the city for consumption. — Photo giadinh.net.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — More than 54 per cent of the ice samples collected from ice factories in HCM City are contaminated, the municipal Department of Food Hygiene and Safety has said.
The ice samples reportedly contained E.coli and three other kinds of bacteria that can cause diarrhoea and respiratory infections.
At a conference on ice making and trading yesterday (July 22), head of the department Huynh Le Thai Hoa said the department's recent inspection revealed that 12 out of 22 samples from ice factories failed to meet the hygiene standards.
The city has the maximum number of ice factories in the country. However, the quality of ice and its trade are still substandard.
Among 193 ice factories, only 79 use tap water. The rest use water from wells for their production, and more than 50 per cent has not tested the water quality.
As per regulations, an ice factory must base its test on the 109 index to ensure the water source meets quality standards before beginning operations. The cost of the test is about VND20 million (US$930).
Hoa said the department would crack down on substandard ice factories, survey all businesses and require them to check their hygiene and safety conditions.
Those who fail the inspection will be forced to close down.
The department will ask restaurants, coffee shops and beverage shops to commit to use ice from hygienic businesses. Consumers will be encouraged to make ice themselves to avoid being poisoned.
According to the World Health Organisation, 80 per cent of the human diseases in developing countries are caused by contaminated water and polluted environment.
Bacteria such as E.coli, coliforms, faecal streptococci and pseudomonas aeruginosa in ice can cause acute diarrhoea, cholera and damage the liver and kidneys. — VNS