Salmonella in seafood in Kochi

A survey carried out by a team of scientists of the Microbiology, Fermentation and Biotechnology Division of Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) Kochi, found Salmonella in 29 per cent of seafood samples.

seafood-kochiDuring the screening process, the researchers collected as many as 150 fresh seafood samples including popular varieties like sardine, mackerel, prawns and crabs from the markets in and around Kochi.

The study was conducted by a team of scientists including S.S. Greeshma, M.M. Prasad, K.V. Lalitha, Toms C. Joseph, and V. Murugadas.

The presence of salmonella in seafood indicates contamination with human and animal excreta. Fishes and shellfish normally do not harbour micro-organisms like salmonella but can get contaminated with through the use of contaminated ice, water, containers and poor hygienic handling practices, explained Dr. Greeshma.

Samples were collected over a period of nine months. Once salmonella reaches soil and aquatic environments, it can survive there for long periods.

While cooking kills the micro-organism, there exists the risk of cross-contamination with other food items that are consumed raw when handled along with seafood contaminated with salmonella.

Humans who come into direct contact with salmonella-contaminated seafoods face health risk, she explained.

The study underscores the need to hygienic handling of fish in the markets, said C.N. Ravishankar, Director of the Institute in a communication.

The researchers are planning a source study to identify the routes and points of possible contamination of the fish.

Most juice outlets in Kochi function by flouting food safety norms

Locating a juice shop in the city fully complying with the guidelines prescribed by the Commissioner of Food Safety may be a Herculean task this summer.

With shops mushrooming in every nook and cranny in Kochi, Indian Food Safety officials seem groping in the dark on how to curb the violations.

Even though reports on use of contaminated ice have come down gradually, they admitted that the majority of the shops store ice in thermocol boxes against the FRUITS_JUICE-2_1814515fprescribed rules. As per the guidelines, ice should not be stored in polystyrene boxes, but in freezers or ice boxes.

Many juice shop owners now claim that they use water supplied in cans by private manufacturers of bottled drinking water. But there is little check on whether these suppliers meet the safety standards.

Use of low quality milk, especially that brought from outside the State, is also rampant in juice shops offering milk shakes.

The Food Safety Department has no clues on whether the shops were storing milk in freezers well beyond the expiry period.