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India cautions against hazardous artificial fruit ripening

Mon 20 May 2024    
The Brew News Team | 2 min read

New Delhi: With India’s mango season under way, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has begun reinforcing its prohibition on hazardous artificial fruit ripening practices.

The nation has over 1,000 varieties of mangoes. This includes the globally coveted varieties such as Alphonso, grown across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, Chausa cultivated in north India’s plains and the Himalayan region as well as Banganapalli and Totapuri from Andhra Pradesh.

Yesterday, the FSSAI cautioned against the detrimental impact of using calcium carbide for fruit ripening on human health. “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,” an FSSAI notification read.

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare explained: “calcium carbide releases acetylene gas which contains harmful traces of arsenic and phosphorus. Residue of these substances on fruits can cause serious health issues such as dizziness, frequent thirst, irritation, weakness, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting and skin ulcers.”

However, the FSSAI has permitted the use of ethylene gas as a safer alternative for fruit ripening. “Ethylene, a naturally occurring hormone in fruits, regulates the ripening process by initiating and controlling a series of chemical and biochemical activities,” it stated.

During the fiscal year 2022-23, India exported 22,963.76 metric tonnes of mangoes, valued at $48.53 million. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) identifies the GCC countries, the UK, and the US as primary export markets for Indian mangoes. This move by FSSAI aligns with India’s commitment to ensuring food safety standards and promoting the export of high-quality agricultural produce to global markets.

Also read: UK Tightens Controls on Indian Spice Imports Due to Contamination Concerns

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