Ever since India has been enveloped by the mall wave, the way households purchased fruits and vegetables has seen a significant change. People have now begun to purchase pre-chopped vegetables to avoid the mess of chopping them by themselves at home.
Vegetables today tend to be cut and put into thermocol or polystyrene trays that are sealed tight with the help of a thin film of plastic and stored in the refrigerator that is set to temperatures between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius.
Dependency of households on such fashion of selling perishable items has even got the local vegetable vendors to follow suit. Even though the vendors do not have refrigerating facility, they do sell chopped vegetables as well as fruits along with their regular wares. Some of these packed vegetables include broccoli, baby corn and loose garlic.
With this year’s World Health Day theme being Food Safety, experts opine that those who buy chopped vegetables and fruits from the market may be actually compromising their health. Head of the department of Biochemistry and Food Science and Quality Control at Ramnarain Ruia College, Dr Jyoti Vora, said that the primary problem faces by people today is food handling. She said that food handling, whether it is street food or vegetables, need to be sold in a proper gear; the staff should be using disposable gloves, undergo regular health check-ups, wear masks over their face, etc.
Dr Vora advises that one buy fresh fruits as well as vegetables instead of chopped versions that are available at the local vendor or at retail stores. She added, “We do not know the date of manufacture. When we see these fruits and vegetables in the store, we do not have a proper date of manufacture or date of expiry. These are factors that consumers need to know before they buy fruits and vegetables”.
What is more interesting is the preference for buying loose fruits and vegetables from the local vendor and taking them home to chop them despite the availability of already chopped vegetables at the mall. Consumers feel that such a practice is safer because it gives them the freedom to better handle the vegetables. Moreover, chopped vegetables are more expensive.
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