Andhra Pradesh: FSSAI cracks whip on hazardous mango ripening and storing practices

The FSSAI has also urged state food safety departments to remain vigilant against those engaging in such unlawful practices as per the provisions of the FSS Act, 2006.
FSSAI logo used for representation
FSSAI logo used for representation

GUNTUR: As the mango season reaches its peak, the rampant use of calcium carbide by sellers to accelerate fruit ripening and boost sales is causing significant concern. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an alert to traders, fruit handlers, and food business operators who are operating ripening chambers to strictly comply with the prohibition on calcium carbide for artificial ripening, particularly during the mango season.

FSSAI logo used for representation
FSSAI warns fruit dealers against ripening mangoes with harmful calcium carbide

The FSSAI has also urged State Food Safety Departments to remain vigilant and take stringent action against those engaging in such unlawful practices as per the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006. Health experts warn that the intake of calcium carbide can adversely affect the nervous system, causing severe headaches, fatigue, and hormonal imbalance in pregnant women. In severe cases, it can damage the liver and kidneys and even cause cancer.

Officials emphasise that mangoes ripened using calcium carbide are harmful to health, and the chemical is banned under the FSS Act, 2006, and FSS Regulations, 2011. As a safer alternative, the FSSAI recommends using ethylene, a hormone naturally produced in fruits, for artificial ripening. Ethylene sachets have become widely available and popular among small traders due to their affordability. Ramana Kanth, a fruit vendor in the city, mentioned that the use of ethylene is now prevalent. “As a result of various awareness campaigns held by food safety department officials, most traders are either following traditional practices or using FSSAI-approved ethylene sachets. The practice of using calcium carbide for ripening mangoes has significantly decreased, if not completely stopped,” he said.

Meanwhile, Food Safety Department officials are on high alert, conducting awareness meetings with fruit vendors on safe practices in fruit ripening, handling, storing, and selling. They are conducting checks to ensure calcium carbide is not being used.

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