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FSSAI Rules Out The Use Of Calcium Carbide As The Ripening Gas
FSSAI has released an order on March 22, 2019 for 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 pesticides in fruits & vegetables.
Artificial ripening of fruits by using prohibited substances like Calcium Carbide or Acetylene Gas (called Masala in common parlance) poses serious threat to the health of consumers. The traces of Arsenic and Phosphorous present in Calcium Carbide can cause vomiting, diarrhea with or without blood, burning sensation of the chest and abdomen, thirst, weakness etc. Regulation 2.3.5 of FSS (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011 states that “no person shall sell or 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, commonly known as carbide gas”. Despite prohibition on sale of artificially ripened fruits by using calcium carbide, the prevalence of such ripened fruits in market is a serious cause of concern which needs to be tackled effectively.
To counter the above-mentioned issue, Commissioners of Food Safety of all States/ UTs have been directed to initiate effective surveillance and enforcement activities to rule out any possibility of ripening the fruits with the aid of harmful & banned substances i.e. calcium carbide or acetylene gas. They are also advised to do similar exercise for vegetables to check the level of pesticides.
A supporting guidance note no. 4/2018 has been released for food industry on artificial ripening of fruits. FSSAI has also asked the industry to refer the same as is available readily on the FSSAI’s website.
Further to support the implementation of this order, FSSAI is focussed to conduct a sustained awareness campaign at Mandi level for FBO awareness. FSSAI is also open to conduct the awareness campaign through electronic and print media to educate FBOs as well as consumers.
Order (2019). Subject: Inspections, monitoring and sampling of fruits and vegetables to rule out the use of Calcium Carbide in ripening of fruits & to check the level pesticides in fruits & vegetables – regarding. F. No. 3(5) 2015/Enf- Legal/ FSSAI. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. 22nd March, 2019