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Children who consume packaged health drinks like Frooti are in grave danger of health hazards that are posed by its high preservatives and chemical content, which have harmful side effects on the human body. To the uninformed just 19% of the much touted Mango Frooti health drink comprises mango pulp. Rest ingredients in the drink comprise noxious chemicals like Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate.

Sodium Benzoate heralds perils like headaches, intestine upsets and increased hyperactivity in a child’s metabolism. Potassium Sorbate that constitutes Sorbic acid and its allied salts can catalyze the process of hyperactivity manifesting in young children.

Our Sprouts’ Special Investigation Team (SIT) unearthed that packaged brands of food like Frooti that have high sugar and fat content can cause behavioral damage to children besides resulting in a lower IQ level. The statistics furnished disclose that a standard 200 ml Frooti package contains anywhere between 13 to 14 grams of refined sugar.

A medical fraternity professional cautioned that parents or young people should not get complacent, thinking packaged food varieties that do not contain the above named preservatives are safe for consumption. “In many instances, there is a combination of chemical additives other than preservatives for purposes of flavoring. This might be much more harmful and even carcinogenic in nature,” he added.

Though the precise effect of any particular chemical by itself may not be that lethal on a child’s health, the cumulative presence might throw up serious symptoms in young children. Beginning with gastric irritation, diarrhea and ailments of the respiratory kind including chronic asthma attacks, sporadic rashes appearing on the skin, they may also cause nauseating sensation that end up with children vomiting and retching.

“For example, in our case study of Frooti, more than 80% of its content comprises preservatives, sugar, water and synthetic coloring pigments for food. The problem arises because the advertisers of many of the packaged food products, either fruit-based or say even ones containing natural health ingredients, follow the same strategy. They position the packaged food in the minds of their target audiences as health or nutrition food,” cautioned a medical professional.

In addition, many of the preservatives are capable of reacting chemically with body fluids, generating noxious gases like sulphur dioxide or hydrogen sulphide. “Children who get used to consuming such packaged food frequently, over a prolonged stretch of time, are likely to develop disorders both in body metabolism and in their mental faculties,” warned a nutritionist.

Nutritionists suggested natural drinks like coconut water, fresh lime juice, freshly ground fruit juices and even buttermilk or lassi as substitutes for such synthetic options to preserve good mental and physical health in children.

“Many packaged foods get the status of being healthy and nutritious for consumption and some are also showcased as health supplements. I strongly feel our policy makers must act swiftly on unethical advertising norms that are being adopted to influence public opinion,” said a food specialist,”

Adv. Jaykumar Vohra, Mumbai High Court

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