Gujarat Plus - Gujarat on Web
Rediscover Gujrat .....Rediscover the Gujrati in You
Adulterated ras may not be the way to juice up your life Monday, March 26, 2001
AHMEDABAD: These sellers promise to juice up your life. But the economics involved are very strange. The prices of mangoes range from Rs 25 to Rs 40 per kg. Yet their juice (keri no ras) is also sold at the same rates -- despite the fact that a kilogram of mangoes yields only upto 400 gm of juice.
Quite obviously, the sellers are not getting real and it is not real mango juice that is sold as the much relished keri no ras. Insiders say that a mix of papaya, pumpkin, a little quantity of mango and flavouring is being packed off to unsuspecting customers.
All that the sellers need is a mixing machine and for approximately Rs 12 to Rs 15 per kg they have their product The rate of adulteration of this seasonal delicacy is abnormally high yet the civic body seems strangely reticent when it comes to taking any action against the mango juice sellers.
The adulterated ras is being sold openly at dairies and other shops across the city, but officials of the Health Department of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) have turned the blind eye.
Chandra Parlour, a shop in Naranpura, sells a kilogram of polypacked juice for Rs 30. For customers who want to buy in bulk, the price can dip as low as Rs 25 per kg. ``If you take a kilogram or two, I cannot offer you lesser prices but if you want to buy more, say 5 kg then you can take it for Rs 24,'' he said.
He refused to admit to the fact that adulteration was rampant. ``We have our own mix machine and see the mangoes are lying outside, ready for extracting juice. There is no question of adulteration as we do not mix anything except a little sugar if the juice tastes sour,'' he said. However, he could not reply when asked how he can afford to offer a kilogram of juice for Rs 30 when a kilogram of the cheapest mango costs the same.
Jaihind Sweets at Stadium Circle also sells `keri ras' at Rs 22 for a 500 gm packet and Rs 42 for 1 kg. ``If you want, I can offer you a lower price for bulk purchase and you can be sure that there is no adulteration as we preserve mangoes in cold storage since last year for this year's juice,'' N K Patel, one of the owners said. Jaihind also sells mango juice in bulk through its shop in Kalupur.
The adulterated juice can cause many health problems, said doctors. Dr Deval Parikh said, ``The preservatives used by most makers can lead to acidity and allergic reactions. As food grade colours and flavours are very expensive, the manufacturers opt for cheaper ones, which can cause a lot of damage.'' Dr Rupesh Mehta, who deals with cases of gastroenteritis, warned, ``The consumer can suffer from gastro, with or without vomiting.''
Yet inaction continues. Dr P K Makwana, Health Officer of the AMC, said that no action has been initiated so far this year against any of these manufacturers. ``We have been collecting samples and sending them for tests to ascertain the extent of adulteration but are yet to take action in a single case,'' Dr Makwana told Express Newsline. He admitted to negligence on the civic body's part.
However, a senior city police officer said the police has got specific information about manufacturing units operating from different areas in the city. ``If AMC officials come with us for nabbing them red handed, we are ready to crack down. But we cannot do it on our own,'' he said.