Home Medical News FSSAI Issues Urgent Warning: Ensure Your Mangoes Are Free from Toxic Calcium Carbide

FSSAI Issues Urgent Warning: Ensure Your Mangoes Are Free from Toxic Calcium Carbide

by Dr. Shruthi R
FSSAI Issues Urgent Warning: Ensure Your Mangoes Are Free from Toxic Calcium Carbide"

The FSSAI warns against using calcium carbide for ripening mangoes due to severe health risks, urging traders to adopt safer alternatives like ethylene gas. Consumers should be vigilant and follow tips to ensure the mangoes they buy are free from harmful chemicals.

As the mango season is in full swing, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a stern warning to traders and fruit handlers about the dangers of using calcium carbide for ripening mangoes. This chemical poses significant health risks, and its use is strictly prohibited.

The Health Risks of Calcium Carbide

Calcium carbide, often used to ripen fruits like mangoes, releases acetylene gas, which can contain harmful traces of arsenic and phosphorus. This chemical mix, known as ‘Masala,’ can cause a range of health issues, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Frequent thirst
  • Irritation
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Skin ulcers

Additionally, acetylene gas is hazardous to those handling the fruits, and residues of arsenic and phosphorus can remain on the fruits, posing a risk to consumers.

The Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011, explicitly state: “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.”

Approved Ripening Agents

To ensure the safety of consumers, FSSAI permits the use of ethylene gas as a safer alternative for fruit ripening. Ethylene gas, up to concentrations of 100 ppm, is a natural hormone that regulates the ripening process by triggering the fruits to ripen naturally.

The Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIB & RC) has also approved Ethephon 39% SL for uniform ripening of mangoes and other fruits, providing a safer and regulated method of ripening.

How to Spot Mangoes Ripened with Calcium Carbide

Here are some tips to help you identify and avoid mangoes that may have been ripened with harmful chemicals:

  1. Buy from Trusted Sources: Purchase fruits from known sellers, reputed stores, or dealers who claim their produce is not ripened with harmful or banned chemicals.
  2. Thorough Washing: Always wash fruits thoroughly with running potable water before eating to remove any potential surface contaminants.
  3. Avoid Black Blotches: Steer clear of fruits with black blotches on the skin, as these are likely ripened with acetylene gas from calcium carbide.
  4. Check Texture: Be cautious of mangoes and other fruits with uniformly colored textures, as this can be a sign of chemical ripening.
  5. Smell and Shelf Life: Adulterated fruits may have a slightly pungent smell and a shorter shelf life, indicating the use of calcium carbide.

You may also like