FSSAI advises Fruit-sellers Not to Use Banned Chemicals for Ripening Fruits
Indeed, fruits are the best godsends to earth. Being the richest source of vital nutrients, fruits have been an important part of our diet.
Whether you buy them from a local vendor every morning or at the weekly farmer’s market, you must always be aware of how they remain fresh and intact till they reach you.
Before consuming the fruits, you must try to know which chemicals have been used to keep them fresh and whether they are really organic.
In this regard, the apex food safety regulator FSSAI has recently directed all food safety commissioners of all States to initiate an “effective surveillance and enforcement strategy”, as to prevent the use of banned chemicals such as calcium carbide or acetylene gas for artificial ripening of fruits.
It has also issued a guidance note to address this concern. It has advised the fruit suppliers having FSSAI registration to abstain from the use of banned chemicals for artificial ripening of fruits.
1. Why has FSSAI advised vendors to prevent harmful chemicals to ripen fruits?
According to the food safety regulator, the current processes in artificial ripening of fruits using prohibited substances have posed a serious threat to human health.
- The harmful chemicals that are being added for artificial ripening of the fruits are mainly calcium carbide, commonly known as masala, besides the harmful acetylene gas.
- Though these chemicals have been banned, they have been rampantly used by the fruit suppliers and wholesalers, including those who have FSSAI license.
- In 2016, FSSAI had permitted the use of ethylene gas as a better and natural alternative to harmful chemicals for ripening of fruits.
2. Whether the fruit vendors have complied to FSSAI guidelines?
The apex food safety regulator has said that despite the strict prohibition on the sale of artificial ripening fruits with calcium carbide, such ripened fruits are still commonly seen in the markets.
This is really a serious cause for concern. It needs to be addressed effectively and as soon as possible.
3. How will FSSAI cope with this challenge?
FSSAI has advised the fruit vendors to use natural harmless alternatives for ripening of fruits such as using ethylene gas.
- It has directed the Food Safety Commissioners of all States and Union Territories to conduct effective surveillance and enforcement programme to check the possibility of ripening of fruits using harmful banned substances calcium carbide or acetylene gas.
- They are also directed to conduct such exercise in case of vegetable sellers and to check the level of pesticides as well.
- Commissioners are also asked to conduct awareness programmes at Mandis for all the vendors and other food business operators. Besides, FSSAI has recommended using electronic and print media to impart awareness among consumers and food businesses regarding this matter.
- Apart from that, FSSAI has set a maximum permissible limit for usage of ethylene gas and has also put in place a separate standard for operating procedures.
Nevertheless, all those fruit sellers who are having an annual turnover above ₹12 lakh are required to get an FSSAI registration.
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