Ripening of Fruits


Ripening is a process in which the fruits become edible when left undisturbed for a considerable period of time.But,the shocking news is most of the fruits are not allowed to ripen on the tree.It is because there are chances of ripe fruits getting spoiled during transportation.So,the traders pick raw,unripe fruits and made them to ripen by means of some artificial methods which are very much hazardous to health.Most of the fruits which we eat today are artificially ripened.

In this article,I would like to throw some light on the chemicals that are used for artificial ripening of fruits.

According to the "Prevention of Food Adulteration Act,1954,and the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules,1955, artificial ripening is strictly banned and the violators are subjected to an imprisonment of six months and a fine of Rs.1000.Calcium carbide is one of the artificial ripening agents used by the fraudulent traders for artificial ripening of fruits.    

What is Calcium Carbide?

Calcium Carbide is a chemical compound  which is mainly used for welding purposes.The commercially produced calcium carbide is grayish white in color.The color varies depending on the grade.The main use of calcium carbide is in the production of acetylene.     

Reasons for using Calcium Carbide

Mostly calcium carbide is used to ripen fruits like mangoes,bananas and papayas.Traders prefer calcium carbide because the cost of 1 kg of calcium carbide is Rs.30 and it can ripen 10 tonnes of fruits.Usually the traders keep small packets of the chemical near the pile of bananas or the boxes of mangoes.The boxes are kept in dark rooms for one to two days.The chemical reaction takes place due to the moisture content present in the fruit and acetylene gas is produced which enhances the ripening of fruits.

The disadvantages of artificial ripening

1.Calcium carbide is a carcinogenic chemical compound.It causes many  short term and long term health problems.

2.The short term exposure to the chemical causes diarrhoea,irritation in the eyes,headache,dizziness and thirst.

3.The chronic exposure to the chemical results in mouth ulcers,food poisoning and even cancer.

4.Calcium Carbide is also hazardous for people who handle it.The chemical can cause severe seizures and blisters when it is touched with wet hands.

5.The artificially ripened fruits are toxic and also tasteless though they have a very appealing color.

6.The organic composition and the nutritional value of the fruit is also lost when it is artificially ripened.

Measures to be practised by consumers

1.Consumer awareness is the only way to get rid of these illegal activities.
The issue must be brought to the notice of concerned officials if we see such illegal activities in our nearby areas.

2.Wash the fruits thoroughly in running water before consuming it.

3.Do not buy fruits if it has come to the market well ahead of the season.

4.Do not buy fruits if it has some powder stains over it or it is punctured at some points.

Hope this article is useful to you all.

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