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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Disaster Management Drill in Mumbai city in Dec

Mumbai: A seven-day drill to check the city's disasterpreparedness is
scheduled to be held in December with international experts assessing the
city's response to natural as well as manmade disasters.
   Dubbed the Mumbai Emergency Management Exercise (MEMEX 2010), the drill
will test preparedness at schools, public places and hospitals.
   At the local level, the BMC and the newly formed National Disaster
Management
Authority will manage the drill. However, the entire operation, costing Rs 8
lakh, will be funded by the Unicef as well as the UNDP and Harvard
University.
   Details of the drill were finalized at a meeting chaired by chief
secretary J P Dange on Tuesday. According to Mantralaya officials, the drill
will start with an emergency one at Shivaji Park in the first week of
December.
   "We will hold emergency drills in schools and judge trauma response at
simulated disaster sites as well as hospitals. A tabletop workshop on
disaster management will also be held,'' an official said, adding that the
Kalina university campus as well as NMIMS in Andheri will also be venues for
the drill.
   This will be the third disaster drill to be organized in the city.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Canned Rasgullahs Have Micro-Organisms That Cause Diseases: Study

ON A STICKY WICKET

Bitter truth about sweet samrat

New Delhi: If you think canned rasgullahs are a better option than the khoyabased sweets you'll encounter this Diwali, think again. The mouth-watering sweet sold by big brands at high prices has been found to have micro-organisms that can cause diseases. Also, it has been found that most of the canned rasgullahs have a higher percentage of syrup than prescribed.
    It's claimed that in one of the cans weighing a kilogram, the drained weight of rasgullahs was found to be 179 grams only!

    The maximum drained weight was 367 grams for all brands tested.
    This has been revealed in tests conducted by Consumer Voice, an NGO supported by the ministry of consumer affairs.
    Eight popular brands of rasgullahs sold across the country were tested. They were checked for quality,
whether they were safe for
consumption or not and for sensory test properties.
However, officials of some of
these companies complained they were not con
tacted during testing.
    "Brands Bikano, Kaleva and MTR did not meet the requirement for bacterial count and failed the test. Brand K C Das also had the bacterial count near about the maximum limit (500 per gram),'' said Sishir Ghosh, head of the NGO. He said the samples were tested at a laboratory approved by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
    The microorganisms are responsible for many foodborne diseases.
    Traces of heavy metals, including lead and nickel, were also found in some brands of rasgullas. "Except for Ganguram's, all the brands showed a fat percentage lower than the
precribed limit.
    "The fat component adds richness of flavour, contributes to a smooth texture and as per national standards should be at least five per cent,'' said Ghosh.
    The tests showed that most of the canned rasgullahs con
tained a high amount of sugar syrup which is generally not used by the consumer.
    The drained weight of rasgullas ranged between 17.42 per cent and 34.63 percent of the net weight, which consumer activists say is a major nonconformity for most of the brands of this product and loss for consumers.
    "The drained weight was found to be lesser than what these companies claim. The consumers are cheated as the cans are filled with syrup,'' said another official of the consumer organisation.
    A Bikano Sweets spokesperson, who was not willing to be quoted, told TOI: "We cannot comment on the report without knowing the details.
Our products are up to mark.''
    A sales manager at Kaleva sweets at Gole Market said they maintained the best hygienic standards. "We are very careful about the quality. I do no know about the reports,'' he said. Officials of the other rasgulla brands could not be contacted despite efforts.

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