Health-conscious residents of Chandigarh need to have a check that they do not end up buying fruits that are artificially ripened using Chinese fruit ripeners. With the glut of fruits in Chandigarh in this summer, especially Mangoes, watermelons, peaches, litchis and bananas, fruit sellers are indulging in this unhealthy practice.
The fruit which takes around a week to get naturally ripened is being artificially ripened by fruit sellers in 24 hours by using Chinese fruit ripeners.
How are fruits ripened artificially in Chandigarh
The situation has become alarming as the Chandigarh food safety department in its raids conducted at Sector 26 vegetable and fruit market has found white powder pouches of Chinese ethylene oxide being used to ripen Mangoes. Though earlier the fruit sellers were in the habit of artificially ripening fruits by using calcium carbide. But the authorities say that even calcium carbide should not be used to artificially ripen fruits. Chandigarh food safety department has sent the collected samples to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India at New Delhi for testing.
Artificially ripened fruits health hazard
As calcium carbide is carcinogenic, it is also a banned substance due to its health hazards. Also, doctors are of the view if ethylene is used above the permissible level it results in causing dizziness, headache and even unconsciousness. City hospitals and private doctors have been receiving complaints of stomach disorder by residents after consumption of fruits like Mangoes.
However, the fruit sellers are of the view that farmers cannot transport fruits to the market after they get ripened as they are perishable. Since the fruit sellers do not have enough storage space with them they indulge in artificially ripening of fruits.
Artificial fruit ripening chambers to come up in Chandigarh
As the authorities are not capable to completely stop artificial ripening of fruits, Chandigarh’s food safety department has moved a proposal to come up with artificial fruit ripening chambers. Once these chambers are ready, the fruit sellers would be able to artificially ripen fruits. At the same time, the authorities would also be able to keep a proper check so that artificial ripening of fruits does not become a health hazard.