FSSAI warns fruit dealers against ripening mangoes with harmful calcium carbide

NEW DELHI: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has alerted traders, fruit handlers and Food Business Operators (FBOs) to strictly ensure compliance with the prohibition on calcium carbide for artificial ripening of fruits, particularly during the mango season.

Calcium carbide, commonly used for ripening fruits like mangoes, releases acetylene gas, which contains harmful traces of arsenic and phosphorus.

Recently, FSSAI seized 575 kg of mangoes worth Rs 72,000 from fruit stalls in Coimbatore after they were found to have been ripened using ethylene sachets in an unapproved way.

These substances, also known as ‘masala’, can cause serious health issues such as dizziness, frequent thirst, irritation, weakness, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting, skin ulcers, etc.

Additionally, acetylene gas is equally hazardous to those handling it.

There is a chance that calcium carbide may come in direct contact with fruits during application and leave residues of arsenic and phosphorus on them.

FSSAI also advised states’ food safety departments and Union Territories to remain vigilant, take serious action, and deal stringently against those indulging in such unlawful practices as per the provisions of the FSS Act, 2006 and Rules/Regulations.

Officials said that considering the dangers, using calcium carbide for ripening fruits has been banned under Regulation 2.3.5 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011.

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