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NAFDAC bans use of carbide to ripen fruits

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NAFDAC bans use of carbide to ripen fruits

 …to prosecute violators

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has raised the alarm over the danger in consuming  fruits artificially ripened with calcium carbide, warning that the perpetrators of such practices, now classified as criminal offence would be prosecuted.

In a statement issued by NAFDAC yesterday, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Christiana Moji Adeyeye warned farmers and traders to desist from such practice, saying NAFDAC was commencing immediate nationwide monitoring of fruits markets to check activities of unscrupulous traders involved in illegal artificial ripening of fruits using hazardous chemicals such as calcium carbide.

She said, “Consumers are advised to examine fruits carefully to select the right fruit by observing the variation of colour. If the fruit that you buy is too good among others in “near perfect” ripening colour, it may have been ripened with calcium carbide.

“Fruits should be washed thoroughly under running water before consumption.”

“Calcium Carbide when sprayed with water reacts chemically to produce acetylene, which acts like ethylene and ripens fruits by a similar process. “Calcium carbide generally contains impurities such as arsenic, lead particles, phosphorus, etc., that pose a number of very serious health hazards.”

According to Adeyeye, although, fruit ripening was a unique aspect of plant development, which makes the fruit edible, softer, sweeter, more palatable, nutritious and attractive, the consumption of fruits such as mango, banana, plantain, guava, orange, grape, etc or any other fruits ripened with calcium carbide was dangerous to health.

She noted that fruits provide the body with micronutrients that improve immunity and prevent diseases among other benefits,

As part of the Agency’s mandate, the director general  of NAFDAC said the Agency was on high alert to respond quickly to any practice or process that would jeopardise the health of the population.

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