NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over the spurt in cases of artificial ripening of fruits using chemicals, the Union health ministry on Thursday asked the states to take action against those indulging in the hazardous practice.
Official sources in the ministry said that a circular has been sent to state food and health authorities and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India by the Minister of State for Health, Mr Dinesh Trivedi.
Chemicals such as calcium carbide are used for ripening fruits like mangos, apples, papayas and guavas. This is prohibited under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules.
“State authorities have been asked to take legal action against retailers, wholesalers or producers found involved in the use of chemicals to ripen fruit,” an official said.
The circular also invited attention of the enforcement authorities in the states to the provisions that of presence of calcium carbide in go-downs and wooden crates may be used as circumstantial evidence in courts to prove that artificial ripening has been used by the vendor.
Details of the procedure for detection of artificial ripening of fruits have also been distributed to state authorities.