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India: €6,500 fine or jail if Mumbai mango sellers artificially ripen fruit

Mango sellers caught selling artificially ripened fruit will now have to pay — they may either be fined Rs 500,000 (€6,500) or will be arrested, the Food and Drug Administration has warned.

This comes after the FDA conducted raids at Vashi APMC market on May 1, where they seized mangoes that were being forcibly ripened with toxic chemicals. FDA officials said they are keeping a close watch on mango sellers.

Shailesh Adhav, joint commissioner FDA (food), said there are a few sellers who are using injections and chemicals to ripen mangoes artificially. FDA has received complaints from consumers who got sick after eating artificially ripened mangoes.

Around 109 dozen mangoes were tested for the presence of toxic chemicals, said Adhav. Last year, we took eight samples of ‘suspect’ mangoes but failed to find any harmful ones. So far this year, we have not yet found any mangoes which have been chemically ripened, Adhav explained. In Maharashtra and Mumbai, the demand for mangoes is high.

Freepressjournal.in states that citizens should put their health first and be cautious while purchasing their favourite fruit. They warn that mangoes that have been hastily ripened using toxic chemicals can cause dizziness, headache, skin burn, allergy, vomiting, and diarrhoea, to name just a few consequences.

Health experts say a chemically treated mango can irritate the stomach lining and upset digestion, apart from biochemical reactions like rashes, diarrhoea, and abdominal distention.

However, an article on artificial ripening on thenationonlineng.net says that consumers, retailers, farmers, and others in the produce value and distribution chain are strongly advised to desist from the harmful practice of using chemicals as artificial ripening agents for fruits, vegetables and other food items, as they can have lethal consequences.

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) said it was particularly worried about the use of calcium carbide (CaC2) to hasten the ripening of oranges and mangoes.

“Calcium carbide (CaC2) is a chemical compound containing arsenic and phosphorus, which have been scientifically proven to contain harmful carcinogenic properties that are capable of serious adverse effects and possible fatalities associated with consumption of food containing them”, warns FCCPC.


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