New Delhi: To prevent artificial ripeningof fruits, the Union Health Ministry has asked stateauthorities to keep a strict vigil on use of chemicals likecarbide gas, ethephon and ethylene gas for this purpose.
Use of carbide gas for ripening of fruits is prohibitedunder Rule 44 AA of Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules1955. Violators are liable to undergo a six-month imprisonmentand pay a fine of Rs 1,000. Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare DineshTrivedi said traders, retailers and sometimes even growers, inorder to ensure a regular supply of fruits, use all kinds ofunscrupulous methods to ripen fruits artificially much beforetheir due time. Calcium carbide, popularly known as masala, is usedextensively. It has carcinogenic properties and is used in gaswelding for steel goods. It can cause mouth ulcers, gastricirritation or even food poisoning.
Other ways of artificial ripening are dipping fruits in asolution of ethephon or exposure of fruits to ethylene gas. The problem is more severe in the case of mangoes andbananas, though sometimes apples, papayas, guavas, pears andplums were also ripened artificially as well. It is suspected that even water melons and melons areripened artificially by injecting some chemicals. PTI
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