Ethylene sachet from China, the new ripening agent

March 28, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 03:41 am IST - COIMBATORE

Fruits ripened using ethylene powder can trigger gastritis, ulcer and cancer

For the first time in Coimbatore, the officials of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) have detected the use of ethylene sachets made in China as ripening agent for fruits. The officials seized one such sachet during a raid conducted in a fruit market in the city on Monday.

According to FSSAI officials, ethylene in powder form is seized for the first time here. While ethylene gas can only be used in chambers meant for fruit ripening, the sachet does not require a chamber.

“Ethylene gas is a fruit ripening agent permitted by the FSSAI. The sachet seized on Monday had ethylene in powder form. The powder sachet helps to ripen fruits overnight when placed inside the carton. We are yet to get any clue of the source of the ethylene sachet with the wordings ‘Made in China’ printed on it” said O.L.S. Vijay, designated officer of FSSAI in Coimbatore. In August 2016, FSSAI had made amendments to Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011, to include ethylene gas as ripening agent for fruits. Dr. Vijay said the use of ethylene as ripening agent in fruits can cause serious health issues as in the case of calcium carbide.

“Regular consumption of fruits ripened using ethylene powder can trigger gastritis, ulcer, neurological disorders and cancer,” said Dr. Vijay.

A food safety official also complained of headache and giddiness after spending time inside a godown from where 10 kg of calcium carbide was seized during the raid.

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