As a wise man once said ‘What is sweet in the mouth is not always good in the stomach.’ Likewise, just because the fruits in the markets look good, smell awesome and taste better, it doesn’t mean that they are good enough even for your health too.
This summer, that coincidently comes with the festivities, have an advice for the people that fruits that often taste delicious can pose a threat to their health if people don’t adopt a caveat emptor approach before buying and bringing them home.
As a variety of fruits especially the mangoes are swamping into the markets these days, there were reports that the traders are using harmful chemicals being imported from abroad to provide artificial repining to mangoes which cause serious health issues in humans. Among the fruits that swamped into the city markets these days, mangoes are the front runner in attracting people in myriad due to its mouth watering taste, tempting texture and satiating aroma as they are considered as king of the fruits.
However, the use of hazardous pesticides and chemicals has increased in mango cultivation for better yielding to crop storage and transportation to artificial ripening. One among them is the use of Ethipan to provide artificial ripening especially to mangoes while transporting the same to city markets. The practice is being adopted just to milk the profit through dumping heaps of chemically induced fruit into the markets unmindful of the health risk posed to humans.
It is said that most of the traders in City markets, especially in Gaddi Annaram agricultural Market Yard, also known as Kothapet Fruit Market, are brazenly using Ethephon, a new type of chemical compound beyond the prescribed limit putting the health of the citizens in jeopardy.
According to Agricultural experts Dr.Ch.Subba Raju “The most commonly used chemical is called ethephon (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid). It penetrates into the fruit and decomposes ethylene. Another chemical that is regularly used is calcium carbide, which produces acetylene, which is an analogue of ethylene. It is, however, fraught with several problems. It is explosive in nature and studies have shown that it breaks down the organic composition of vitamins and other micronutrients.”
Besides, he said, it changes only the skin colour: the fruit remains raw inside. In addition, industrial grade calcium carbide is often found contaminated with trace amounts of arsenic and phosphorus, which are toxic chemicals.
Mangoes carry nutritional values like beta carotene, vitamin K, antioxidants, potassium and fibre. While beta carotene in mango boosts the immune system the Vitamin-K increases bone strength in the body. The antioxidants in mangoes protect against eye problems. The fibre increases metabolism and potassium largely controls blood pressure while eliminating heart diseases.
Meanwhile, the team of officials have visited the Gaddi Annaram Agricultural Market Yard and taken stock of the reports that harmful chemicals are being widely used to ripen the seasonal fruit.
“Only on 9th April, the team of officials consisting of food inspectors and analysts inspected the market. Though we haven’t found any violation on the stance we took samples for testing. However, we are constantly keeping an eye on the use of such harmful staff. If the report suggests and we find anyone violating the prescribed rule then we will definitely book a case against the errant, informed Balaji Raju, Assistant Food Controller, GHMC.
“Use of Ethephon is permissible but under prescribed manner. Labourers, most of them from neighbouring Maharashtra, are filling sachets of Ethephon beyond prescribed level out of ignorance but we have warned them not to resort to such things and do it as per the guidelines only. We will carry out inspection again in the days to come to ascertain whether they are following the prescribed format or not,” informed Laxminarayana Reddy, Senior Scientific Officer, State Food Laboratory.