Vimto is the Middle East’s favorite soft drink. It’s especially appreciated as an instant energy boost after the daily fast during Ramadan month. We’re well aware that juice and sugary soft drinks increase risk of liver damage. To compound the soft-drink danger in the Middle East, thousands of Vimto bottles have been found to contain gel-like substances formed of bacteria and fungi.
Rumors that the gel floating in the drink causes cancer were firmly squashed, but attempts to calm the public about its favorite soft drink were less than credible.
A report on Emirates 24/7 News quotes Shimaa Al Tinaiji, deputy head of food education at the food control authority in Dubai’s Municipality. “These fungi are very simple and cause no harm even if they are taken…they only change the colour and taste of the product as is the case of bread infected with fungi,” she said.
Not too reassuring, unless the consumer is fond of eating moldy bread.
Al Tinaiji adds, “We are still analysing the results of tests to determine the reasons for the contamination of that shipment and whether it was caused during transport or loading.”
Meaning that as of today, it’s still not known what exactly the goop in the sugary purple drink is, or what effects it may have already had on people who drank from the contaminated batches.
Bottles with November and December 2011 production dates have been cleared off shelves and production has been stopped till further notice while Dubai’s Food Control Department contacts the manufacturer, a Saudi Arabia-based firm. According to the Khaleej Times, cases of contaminated Vimto were seized from Fujairah, Ajman, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah. Dubai’s Ministry of Economy said that customers can report about contaminated drinks by calling 600-522-225.
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Photo of Vimto via jamescridland