Civic body plans special drive to check the practice

The king of fruits has landed in large numbers at every nook and corner of the Erode town. But the lovers of the golden-yellow mangoes are advised to be on the look out for the distinct aroma and wrinkle-free texture to identify naturally ripened fruit and stay away from the artificially ripened ones.

The fruit may pose serious health risks as many vendors use harmful chemicals such as calcium carbide to induce ripening and for better appearance.

The consumption of artificially ripened mangoes will cause several harmful effects, including neurological disorders, warns doctors and health officials in the district.

“The artificially ripened fruit will lack the distinctive aroma that naturally ripened mangoes have. It will also look uniformly coloured, while the naturally ripened one will show gradients in yellows and greens. If the mangoes have wrinkles, avoid them,” says a horticulture official here.

“If you find extraordinary sheen and black spots, then the fruit may be ripened using artificial methods,” he adds.

“Eating artificially-ripened mangoes would put the consumer at the risk of developing mouth ulcers, gastric problems, headaches, dizziness and rashes. Sometimes, it may lead to serious problems,” Dr. C. Sekar, Deputy Director of Health Services, said.

Fruit traders, however, said that they were forced to use artificial methods of ripening as farmers were plucking mangoes early in order to ensure better shelf-life.