FDA focuses on Neera samples

ST CORRESPONDENT
Friday, 10 May 2019

“As the summer starts, the FDA starts the check of beverages that are sold across the district. As a part of the routine check, we have also started collecting samples of neera also. In the past 15 days, we have sent the samples for further testing for contamination,” said Shinde.

PUNE: As the heat soars in the city and more Puneites are consuming cold drinks from street-side food stalls to quench their thirst, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has collected six samples of palm juice, locally known as neera, from across Pune district as a part of its regular sample checks. Many people have reported stale and contaminated neera adversely affecting their health across the city.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Sanjay Shinde, Assistant Commissioner, FDA Food, said that around six samples have been sent for testing in the past 15 days.

“As the summer starts, the FDA starts the check of beverages that are sold across the district. As a part of the routine check, we have also started collecting samples of neera also. In the past 15 days, we have sent the samples for further testing for contamination,” said Shinde. He also added that reports of these tests are awaited.

He said FDA officials have been instructed to collect more samples for testing for quality check of other beverages that are sold more during summer.

“Ice, Ice cream, and other items, which are high in demand, are sent for testing,” said Shinde. 

Speaking to Sakal Times, another FDA official said the quality checks for food, which also includes neera, is under the FDA. Sources said a few neera vendors were found who did not have a licence to sell neera.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF NEERA
- Neera or palm juice is a preferred drink for summer.
- Underlining the benefits of neera consumption, Dr Ankur Deshpande, an ayurvedic practitioner from the city, said neera is beneficial for health. But there is no aggressive promotion of the beverage in ayurveda texts. “It is preferred to maintain bodily fluids when the heat is high,” he said. 
- He said neera should be consumed fresh. “Stale neera is not good for health. If it is dark yellowish or has a foul smell, avoid it. It is used mostly for urinary track infections and burning micturarion. But that should be used within limit. Neera has low glycemic index. So, it is good for diabetics as absorption of sugar is very low,” he added.

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