This season, beware of buying the shiny yellow mangoes that appear fresh out of farm. Instead, they may be straight out of their Carbide treatment. The Food Safety and Standards officials from the Institute of Preventive Medicine caution that the artificially ripened fruit using Calcium Carbide display spotless lemon-yellow skin, and do not have the sweet aroma of the naturally ripened ones. They look soft, and have shorter shelf life. Further, stem looks green even after the fruit turns yellow.
Carbide being used to ripen bananas too
The same criteria applies to evaluation of bananas too, as they too carry the risk of being ripened with Carbide, the officials said through a presentation on Wednesday, during a press conference organised by the Health department.
The press meet was organised after the High Court asked the government to take measures to spread awareness about the ill effects of carbide-ripening through media. Carbide, when reacts with the moisture in the fruit, produces acetylene gas which quickens the ripening process. However, it contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus hydride which have dangerous effects on human body. Many traders choose carbide because it is easily available at quite cheap prices, an official informed.
Health effects of carbide
Consumption of carbide will produce symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea with or without blood, burning sensation in chest and abdomen, thirst, weakness, difficulty in swallowing, ulcers on the skin, sores, cough and wheezing, and shortness of breath. Higher exposure may cause pleural effusion and peptic ulcer, and even vendors handling the fruit are not spared from the effects.
Principal Secretary, Health, Medical and Family Welfare, Rajeshwar Tiwari said the government will soon come up with large scale awareness programme about ill effects of carbide-ripening. Banners and posters will be displayed at the market yards and action will be initiated against erring traders as per the provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2011, which entails punishment of six months’ imprisonment and fine of Rs 1 Lakh, he said.
Department of Agriculture is on the job of having a big Ethylene ripening chamber to avoid the harmful carbide effects at the Gaddi Annaram Agricultural Market Yard.
To know more, click here
Source: The Hindu