Everything You Need To Know About

20 May 2024 : PIB Summary for UPSC

1. FSSAI Alerts Fruit Traders to Ensure Compliance with Prohibition of Calcium Carbide in Fruit Ripening

Topic: GS2 – Governance

GS3 –  Science and Technology

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has intensified its crackdown on the illegal use of calcium carbide for fruit ripening.

● The FSSAI has urged compliance with regulations and promoting safer alternatives like ethylene gas, particularly during the mango season, to protect public health.

 Analysis of the news:

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) alerts traders, fruit handlers, and Food Business Operators (FBOs) to avoid using calcium carbide for ripening fruits, especially mangoes, during the mango season.
  • Calcium carbide, which releases acetylene gas, is harmful and contains arsenic and phosphorus, leading to health issues like dizziness, thirst, irritation, vomiting, and skin ulcers.
Use Of Calcium Carbide For Fruit Ripening:
Health hazards of calcium carbide:

● Calcium carbide is a chemical compound used in industrial applications and, illegally, for ripening fruits.

● It releases acetylene gas, which can contain harmful arsenic and phosphorus residues.

● Exposure to calcium carbide can cause serious health issues, including dizziness, vomiting, and skin ulcers.

● Due to these risks, its use for fruit ripening is banned in many countries, including under Indian food safety regulations.

Replacements For Calcium Carbide:

●  Instead of calcium carbide, safer alternatives for fruit ripening include ethylene gas and Ethephon 39% SL.

● Ethylene gas, a natural hormone in fruits, promotes ripening safely at concentrations up to 100 ppm.

● Ethephon 39% SL, approved by the Central Insecticides Board, also ensures uniform ripening.

● These methods avoid the health risks associated with calcium carbide, ensuring consumer safety and compliance with food safety regulations.

  •  Regulation 2.3.5 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011, bans the use of calcium carbide for ripening fruits.
  • Ethylene gas is recommended as a safer alternative for fruit ripening, permissible up to 100 ppm, as it naturally regulates the ripening process.
  • The Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIB & RC) approves Ethephon 39% SL for uniform ripening of mangoes and other fruits.
  • FSSAI provides a guidance document titled “Artificial Ripening of Fruits – Ethylene gas a safe fruit ripener,” detailing the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for using ethylene gas.
  • Consumers are requested to report any use of calcium carbide or improper ripening practices to the State Commissioners of Food Safety.
Practice Question:  Discuss the health hazards associated with the use of calcium carbide for fruit ripening and evaluate the measures taken by FSSAI to curb this practice. (150 Words /10 marks)


Similar Posts

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments