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Chennai, India

Chemicals used to ripen bananas in Koyambedu market

Recently, reporters visited the Koyambedu fruit market to investigate the use of chemicals for ripening fruits and spoke to some of the fruit-sellers to find out if it was true. Every one of them admitted that there is use of unlicensed chemicals to ripen fruits.

When asked about the process a 40 years veteran marketer said: “Seasonal fruits are not treated with chemicals since they are sold immediately. But bananas, in great demand during festive times, are ripened with chemicals.” reports how the chemical used for ripening bananas is sold in a small white bottle. Anyone visiting Koyambedu market can easily spot the used bottles on the way and at some wholesale banana shops too. The chemical is poured into the cap and mixed with a bucket of water. This water is then poured on the unripe banana to ripen it.

Asked about how to identify chemically treated and naturally matured bananas, a fruit-seller says: “Retailers can point out artificial bananas easily. However, we maintain good contacts with the wholesalers and see that we get natural bananas. We mostly try to sell the fruits as they are. Sometimes, if there is high demand, we use smoke to ripen them.”

“The difference is in the fruit’s colour. Too bright a yellow reveals that the banana is artificially ripened,” he adds.

Some customers reacted: “Everyone tells you to eat healthily. So we opt for green vegetables and fruits. Since we think retailers may adulterate fruits, we go to wholesale shops at Koyambedu to buy them there. But now we hear that major adulteration takes place here as well. It is shocking and we have nowhere to go now.”

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