VIJAYAWADA: The food safety officials conducted surprise raids at Nunna Mango Market on Tuesday to catch the vendors red-handed while using calcium carbide to ripen the fruits.
As part of the raids, the officials primarily warned the traders against using chemicals like China Powder (ethylene ripener) to cash in on the demand for mangoes in the market.
Acting on a tip-off, a team of officials led by Food Safety Controller N Purnachandra Rao conducted raids at the shops in Nunna Mango Market and checked for chemicals used to artificially ripen fruits. They recovered few sachets of ethylene in mango cartons being sold by vendors.
“Sachets flashing ‘Chinese Ethylene Powder’ were found in mango cartons. Earlier, sachets of carbide powder were being used for ripening. Ethylene is widely used for ripening fruits. But, we don’t know the sanctity of the powder, though it is called ethylene powder,” said N Purnachandra Rao, Food Safety Controller.
The samples were collected and sent to the laboratory for scientific analysis, to check the presence of artificial ripening chemicals, he added.
“This ethylene is in the form of a starchy powder, which slowly releases ethylene gas that causes mangoes and other fruits to ripen. Ethylene gas chambers are often used to ripen fruits, however, there is no clarity on the safety of ethylene sachets. We sought the opinion of experts on the issue,” he explained.
Majority of farmers and traders in the mango market are unaware of the Chinese Ethylene Powder and they were thinking that usage of such powder will ripen the fruits.
However, stern action will be initiated against traders and cases will be registered against them, he warned.
At the same time, some traders alleged that the raids will affect fruit export to other states.