Ludhiana In absence of any check by the authorities concerned, many of vendors in city are selling fruits ripen with chemical solutions. For the early ripening, they are also using Calcium Carbide.
‘Daily Post’ team visited in many areas of the city and had a word with many fruit vendors and tried to know about the facts.
A fruit vendor on Hambran Road said that mostly all the fruits like mangoes, bananas and papaya among others are ripened with banned Carbide gas which is mostly used to ripen fruits and substandard quality of wax is also used on fruits to hasten the process.
Dr. Navjot Singh, Professor, Department of Medicine at CMC Hospital said, “In India, the use of Calcium Carbide to induce ripening of fruits which is banned under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and offenders are liable to face a six month imprisonment and fine. Calcium Carbide, popularly known as ‘masala’ is frequently used for ripening of fruits”.
“The use of Calcium Carbide for ripening of the fruits is carcinogenic. It causes mouth ulcers, gastric irritation, food poisoning and death. Acetylene gas produced from Calcium Carbide affects the neurological system by inducing prolonged hypoxia and can cause headache, dizziness, mood disturbances, sleepiness, mental confusion, memory loss, cerebral edema and seizures”, added Singh.
“The implementation of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and Rules 1955 is entrusted to the state authorities. There is a need to take legal action for violation the PFA Rules. Vendors are selling ripened fruits with harmful chemicals for which these vendors can face a six month jail term and a fine of Rs.1000 under the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Rules, 1955”, he added.
Kulwinder Singh, District Health Officer said, “Last month, the department has taken samples from vegetable market under which apple, mango and banana were caught ripened. We are also taking actions in coming days to take action against the erring vendors.”
FOOD SAFETY REGULATIONS
Under regulation 2.3.5: Prohibition of use of carbide gas in ripening of fruits : No person shall sell or offer or expose for sale or have in his premises for the purpose of sale under any description, fruits which have been artificially ripened by use of acetylene gas, commonly known as carbide gas.
Under regulation 2.3.6: Sale of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: The fresh fruits and vegetables shall be free from rotting and free from coating of waxes, mineral oil and colors. Provided that fresh fruits may be coated with bees wax (white and yellow) or carnauba wax or shellac wax at level not exceeding good manufacturing practices under proper label declaration.
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