An engineer's quest to find clean vegetables has given Mumbai a first-of-its-kind store which purifies fruits and veggies before selling them. Kareena N Gianani walked into Fresco, met its founder Karan Gaba and found out the technology, which involves ozonation, works. Every morning, at 4.30 am at a workshop in Santacruz, a group of people try to undo what you suspect your local subziwaala would otherwise do best -- wash your vegetables with filthy water and store them in places with dubious levels of hygiene. Here, at the workshop, workers work in batches and haul over 750 kgs of vegetables in a washing machine, though of a very different sort. Tomatoes, bell peppers, lemons and bottle gourds are placed in the pre-wash machine and, when the power is turned on, the vegetables are washed with the help of water currents. Karan Gaba, owner of Fresco, treats vegetables and fruits with ozone to purify the produce. Vegetables are first washed with water and then transferred into a machine called Advance Direct Contact Quarantine (below) where ozone technology is used to purify them. Pics/Nimish Dave
The vegetables are then taken out and arranged in a tall rack - and here's is where the unusual part of the process comes in. Twenty-eight-year-old Karan Gaba, the man behind Fresco, instructs his team to wheel the veggies inside an electronic enclosure, around 8x4 feet and locks it. He presses a few buttons and we wait for about seven minutes, occasionally peering through the glass while the machine soundlessly does its job.
The vegetables look the same when they come out, but they have now been purified with ozone technology. The machine, conceptualised and designed by Gaba, is called the Advance Direct Contact Quarantine (ACDQ). The machine, with perforations visible on all four walls, ozonises the air inside -- which simply means that oxygen molecules are converted into ozone (made of three oxygen atoms). "Ozonisation purifies the vegetables against pesticides and harmful bacteria such as E Coli and salmonella. It is also free from the wax some vendors use to polish fruits to give them sheen."