Sale of mangoes shoots up in the summer season. Ripening of mangoes using calcium carbide has gained wide acceptance among traders in recent years against traditional methods of ripening, which are time consuming. Traders are finding it easier to ripen mangoes as they are shifted from the groves or stored in godowns. Artificially ripened mangoes can be spotted through a careful examination of the fruit. They will lack the aroma and will be less juicy compared to the naturally ripened ones. No doubt, the use of chemical helps the fruits ripen evenly and give a smooth look to the fruits but the chemicals used for artificial ripening of fruits can cause cancer. Acetalyne gas has the potential to affect the nervous system, causing headache, dizziness and mood disturbance.
Some vendors also resort to burning kerosene stove or incense sticks in closed rooms to quicken the process of ripening. Sale of carbide ripened mango fruits is strictly prohibited as per Food Safety Standards Regulations, 2011, Section 2.3.5 of Food Safety Standards Regulations 2011. Fruit Commission Traders’ Welfare Association must come forward to bring to an end use of chemicals to ripen fruits. A penalty of not exceeding Rs. 5 lakh should be imposed for selling such carbide ripened fruits.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)