CHENNAI: Nearly 7,500kg of artificially ripened mangoes and around 800kg of such avocados were seized from shops and warehouses in the Koyambedu wholesale market in Chennai by food safety wing officials in the early hours of Wednesday.
By 4 am on Wednesday, city food safety wing officials inspected the Koyambedu market, where they found traders packing mangoes with ethylene packs.
“These bags should be placed in perforated boxes before being dropped into cartons packed with mangoes. But to expedite the ripening process, they add the sachets directly into the box. So, the chemical comes in direct contact with the fruit. This is harmful,” said designated food safety officer for Chennai Dr P Satheesh Kumar.
“In the case of avocados, they dissolve the powder in water and pour it over the fruit. Most vendors now don’t use calcium carbide. We see them using these packs now,” he said.
Natural fruit ripening is a combination of physiological, biochemical, and molecular processes. It leads to changes in colour, sugar content, acidity, texture, and aroma. But the process takes time.
Artificially ripened fruits, on the other hand, have poor taste and quality. These mangoes put you at the risk of headache, dizziness and sleep disorders. They may affect the neurological system, cause memory loss and cancer.
The seized fruits were sent to the decomposing unit to be destroyed.
Last week more than 200 kg of mangos were seized. Food safety officials have sealed two shops and fined nearly 20 vendors for violating the food safety norms. “Some traders did not have an FSSAI licence. We have told traders to create awareness about legal and safe ways to ripen fruits,” he said.