Who would not love to eat a ripe mango? Its delicious taste, unique flavour and health promoting qualities make it the king of fruits.
But beware, while enjoying the exotic fruit, the calcium carbide, being used for fast ripening, has a debilitating impact on the health of the consumer.
In fact, not just mangoes, all fruits, including papaya, banana, pineapple, apple and watermelon, are being treated with calcium carbide for anomalous ripening in Vizag. Not just fruits, even vegetables like lemons and tomatoes are not being spared. This was found during a survey by researchers of Andhra University.
Generally, climacteric fruits, those which ripe after harvest, are too delicate to withstand transportation and preferably have to be ripened near the consumption areas.
Hence, majority traders shift those fruits to the markets and apply calcium carbide for getting good colour, sweetening and ripening the fruit.
Most climacteric fruits, in India, are ripened with industrial grade calcium carbide that usually contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus, and, thus, use of this chemical is illegal in most countries.
In India too, use of calcium carbide is strictly banned. Calcium carbide, once dissolved in water, produces acetylene, which acts as an artificial ripening agent, affects the nervous system by reducing oxygen supply to brain.