FSSAI Asks Fruit Traders to Adhere to Ban on Calcium Carbide for Ripening, Proposes Safer Alternatives

GG News Bureau
New Delhi, 19th May.
 The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a stern advisory to fruit traders, handlers, and Food Business Operators (FBOs), emphasizing strict compliance with the prohibition on the use of calcium carbide for artificial fruit ripening, especially during the mango season. The alert comes amid concerns over the health hazards posed by the harmful substances released during the artificial ripening process.

Calcium carbide, a commonly employed substance for hastening fruit ripening, releases acetylene gas, which contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus, known colloquially as ‘Masala’. Exposure to these compounds can lead to severe health complications such as dizziness, nausea, weakness, and skin ulcers. Moreover, acetylene gas poses risks to individuals handling it, amplifying the urgency for adherence to safety regulations.

Recognizing the risks associated with calcium carbide, FSSAI has explicitly prohibited its use under Regulation 2.3.5 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011. This regulation unequivocally prohibits the sale or exposure for sale of fruits artificially ripened with acetylene gas.

In response to the ban, FSSAI has sanctioned the use of ethylene gas as a safer alternative for fruit ripening in India. Ethylene, a natural hormone present in fruits, regulates the ripening process by initiating and controlling various biochemical activities. FSSAI has approved the use of Ethephon 39% SL by the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIB & RC) for uniform ripening of mangoes and other fruits.

To facilitate the transition towards safer ripening practices, FSSAI has published a comprehensive guidance document titled “Artificial Ripening of Fruits – Ethylene gas a safe fruit ripener”. This document delineates a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) encompassing all facets of artificial ripening using ethylene gas, including handling conditions, safety guidelines, and post-treatment operations.

FSSAI has urged consumers to report any instances of calcium carbide usage or other malpractices in fruit ripening to the concerned State Commissioners of Food Safety for prompt action. Detailed contact information for the Commissioners of Food Safety across all States/UTs is accessible on the FSSAI website.

By advocating for safer ripening methods and enforcing stringent regulations, FSSAI aims to safeguard public health while promoting sustainable practices in the fruit industry.

Comments are closed.