India: Safe chemical ripening of fruits

Since January, mangoes have been arriving at the Gaddiannaram Fruit Market. The directive of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to use ethylene gas for ripening of mangoes is also in place. However, the traders say that the authorities are yet to establish a mechanism for this fruit ripening. The marketing department is yet to set up 'Ethylene Ripening Chambers.'

In the coming days, the number of trucks is only going to increase, and there is a need to have a proper mechanism for fruit ripening as per rules." Bainganpalli, Totapuri and Suvarnarekha are the most common that come to the market. Use of carbide as a ripening agent is a punishable offence under the FSSAI Act 2006, as the chemical is carcinogenic.

Mangoes from districts like Nuziveedu, Krishna, Khammam, Mahboobnagar, Nalagonda, Kurnool, Nandyala, Kadapa, Chittoor, Rajampeta and other places come to the market. Apart from the Telugu states, the mangoes are also imported from the states of Kolar District, Karnataka, Dharmapuri District, Tamil Nadu. These imported mangoes are usually exported to North India, especially to Delhi and Maharashtra, for the artificial ripening of mangoes.

The process of artificial ripening takes around 4 to 5 days to change the color of the mangoes from raw green to ripened yellow. The sachets of these chemicals are dropped into the baskets of raw mangoes at the time of exporting them from Hyderabad to other parts of India and during the journey, the mangoes are ripened.


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