Artificially ripened mangoes may be harmful for you. Food regulator asks…
Artificial ripening of fruits is done to achieve the desired level of ripening before time which would be then accepted by consumers
The Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) of India (FSSAI) on Thursday urged food commissioners of all states and Union Territories (UT) to take action against the unauthorised use of artificial fruit ripening agents. The food regulator has been warning against the use of agents such as calcium carbide for the ripening of fruits.
Artificial ripening of fruits is done in a controlled manner in order to achieve the optimum level of ripening before time which would be then accepted by consumers and it also allows a longer shelf life of these fruits. For instance, riped mangoes turn soft and perishable in the logistical process. Therefore, they are carried in unripe conditions and later artificially ripened at the destination market.
Why is illicit artificial ripening harmful?
The use of calcium carbide, one of the harmful artificial fruit ripening agents, has been prohibited as per the provision in sub-regulation of Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulation, 2011.
Calcium carbide, also known as ‘masala’, is commonly used in mining and metal industries as well as in the production of acetylene gas. It is a highly reactive compound and releases acetylene gas which is used to artificially ripen fruits. However, its use can prove in serious health consequences.
The use of ‘masasla’ in fruits is highly toxic and can cause health damage including respiratory problems and skin irritation, which may lead to cancer.
FSSAI warned that the used of this chemical compound can lead to the formation of arsenic and phosphorus that are poisonous in nature.
Despite multiple warnings, ‘masala’ has been repeatedly used as artificial fruit ripening agents. This is done because they are cheap and relatively an easier method.