Risking health for substandard cheaper beverages
With increase in consumption of drinks and beverages at ‘Iftar’, a lot of new brands of drinks are in abundance at low prices compared to prices of known brands. Doctors say branded or no branded, soft drinks add up to unnecessary and unhealthy calories. On top of it, spurious or substandard drinks double the health risks.
Those who manufacture or market these drinks use identical names and brand colours of the known and tested brands to hoodwink the people and violate the trade mark and copy rights laws. These products hardly match any food grade standards set under rules and procedures of food and beverages manufacturing. Stockpiles of such drinks are seen in every where in market.
“Since we cannot afford to buy international brands which are expensive, we buy local brands which are available at 40% cheaper rates. They taste the same and quench our thirst,” said Fatima Bibi who was buying a local cola from a store on Saidpur road.
Haleem Akhtar, another consumer said being a poor he cannot buy any drink having 80 rupees price per litre, so he preferred to purchase this local drink for his children.
People buy such items with a thinking that these are economical for them but doctors say that such drinks are a major cause of typhoid, hepatitis, diarrhoea and other diseases.
Dr. Azhar Nadeem, a medical specialist told INFN that these beverages should be immediately banned as these were spreading various viral diseases among the people especially children. “There is a chance of increase in hepatitis cases during and after Ramadan because of the use of these low quality drinks,” he warned.
On labels of these drinks, nutrition value, date of manufacturing and expiry are not mentioned, which is a violation of the rules that exist but are never implemented. Though the government of Punjab did set up a Complaint Cell against manufacturing of substandard food items but no significant achievement of the Cell has so far been reported.
The Cell is mandated to check the quality of the product with dates of manufacturing and expiry clearly marked on the label. The citizens are risking their lives for not having quality food which the governments need to make sure for them.