GHANA – The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has issued a stern caution to traders, emphasizing the hazardous nature of using calcium carbide to ripen mangoes and its potential health risks to consumers.

In a statement released on Facebook, the FDA labeled the use of calcium carbide to quicken fruit ripening as not only hazardous but also criminal. The authority urged the public to report any instances of chemical fruit ripening, stressing the importance of consumer safety.

The FDA’s statement follows a viral video suggesting the use of calcium carbide by some traders to ripen mangoes, prompting concerns about the safety of fruits in the market.

In response, the regulator has initiated public education efforts to help consumers differentiate between chemically-ripened and organic fruits.

Despite ongoing surveys and testing, the FDA clarified that there has been no evidence of mangoes containing calcium carbide thus far. However, the authority continues its investigations alongside public education campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of using chemicals in fruit ripening.

Additionally, the FDA debunked the validity of the “floating test” method depicted in the video, stating that it lacks scientific evidence. The authority explained that several factors, including pest infestation by fruit flies and mango moths, could cause fruits to float, underlining the need for accurate and scientifically backed methods for assessing fruit quality.

The FDA’s proactive measures aim to safeguard consumer health and ensure the integrity of the food supply chain.

Traders and consumers are urged to adhere to these guidelines to mitigate health risks associated with chemically-ripened fruits.

Artificial fruit ripening

 Artificially ripened fruits have a consistent color, are less juicy than fruits that have ripened naturally, and have a relatively limited shelf life. They could have ripe skin but are unripe inside.

The fruit can also be recognized as artificially ripened if the fruits are completely yellow while the stem is dark. This is particularly true for bananas and plantain.

Such fruits may result in frequent thirst, mouth and nose discomfort, weakness, chronic skin damage, trouble swallowing, vomiting, and skin ulcers, among other symptoms.

A higher exposure could result in an unwanted fluid buildup in the lungs (pulmonary oedema).

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.