March 26, 2019
Sanjeev Kumar, Deputy Director (RCD), FSSAI, have informed all Commissioners of food Safety of States/UTs, Authorised Officers, Central Licensing authorities of FSSAI that an order has been delivered about the inspections, monitoring and sampling of fruits and vegetables to rule out the use of Calcium Carbide in ripening of fruits and to check the level of pesticides in them.
To meet the rising demand and match the supply, traders and vendors often use various ripening chemicals to quicker the age of the agri-produce. Artificial ripening of fruits by using prohibited chemicals like Calcium Carbide or Acetylene Gas (Masala in common words) poses a serious risk to the health of the consumers. Traces of Arsenic and Phosphorous present in Calcium Carbide can cause vomiting, diarrhoea with or without blood, burning sensation in the chest and abdomen, thirst, weakness etc….
In Regulation 2.3.5. of FSS (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales), Regulations 2011 states that “no person shall sell/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 (Calcium Carbide). The prevalence of such ripened fruits in market is a serious cause of concern which needs to be tackled effectively”.
In lieu of the above concern, FSSAI has directed all the Commissioners of Food Safety of all States and Union Territories to initiate operational surveillance and perform enforcement activities to rule out any possibility of ripened fruits using harmful & banned chemicals like Calcium Carbide. The Authorities above are also advised to carry out similar exercise for the vegetables to check the level of pesticides. For further reference and guidance, note no. 4/2018 on artificial ripening of fruits is available on the FSSAI’s website.
The Order further emphasized an attentive and continuous awareness campaign to be maintained at Mandi level by the Food & Beverages Officers. Spreading awareness of this campaign can also be done through electronic and print media to educate FBOs together with consumers, stated the Order.