New Delhi: Keeping in view the health
hazards of using calcium carbide for ripening fruits, the
government is working to substitute it with a more protective
A committee formed under the National Horticulture Board
is preparing standards for ethenyl usage for ripening fruits,
head of Fruit and Vegetable wing of Indian Council of
Agriculture Research (ICAR) A K Singh said.
The committee is working on subjects like quantity of
ethenyl to be used for ripening fruits of different types,
level of temperature and related matter, he said.
Singh, who is a member of the committee, said the
standards for ethenyl usage would be given a final shape soon.
A meeting of the team was held here last week, he said,
adding that experts have pointed out that arsenic and
phosphorous are found in calcium carbide. It forms acetylene
gas (more popularly known as carbide gas) after reacting with
the moisture in atmosphere.
This gas works as ethenyl for ripening fruits.
As per section 44 AA of Prevention of Fruits Adulteration
Act, 1955, use of acetylene gas for ripening fruits is
prohibited. But due to lacunae in execution of the laws and
lack of substitute, it is being used rampantly, he said.
Singh said studies have pointed out that use of calcium
carbide for ripening fruits like bananas and mangoes have had
harmful effects on brain, lungs and other vital organs.
On the other hand, fruits ripened with the help of
ethneyl had no harmful effect on the health.
He said traders in Maharashtra are successfully using
ethenyl, which is expected to be extended to other parts of
All India Fruits Growers and Exporters Association
President Babu Ramchandani said over the phone from Mumbai
that ethenyl is successfully used for ripening fruits.
Temperature controlled chambers or rooms are constructed
for ripening fruits using ethenyl. Horticulture board gives
subsidy for construction of such chambers or rooms.
It might be recalled that Union Minister of State of
Health Dinesh Trivedi in a letter to the Health Secretary had
recently raised the issue of use of harmful chemicals and
harmones in fruits and vegetables, which have adverse impact
on the health.
About 60.7 million tonnes of fruits are produced in
the country annually. 43 per cent of mangoes of the world are
produced in India, which is also a leading producer of banana.