Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has permitted ethephon powder to be used to ripen mangoes. Last year, after the mango season FSSAI published it directive on August 16.
Food and Drug Authority (FDA) has warned that mangoes should be ripened naturally or it would take action. Directive after research Merchants throughout the Country still use calcium carbide for ripening mangoes.
This banned chemical causes cancer and has been proved through research. Hence the government takes strict action against merchants who use this banned substance.
Noted the merchants started using ethephon powder but FDA official stock action against its use too. Many samples were taken from Kalamana market and sent for analysis. FSSAI, after the season, directed that ethephon powder could be used and so all merchants are using this powder.
FSSAI claims that mangoes, ripened through this chemical, were nutritious. Mangoes ripen due to ethylene gas Cheap ethephon powder is imported in large quantities from China and South Korea.
A pouch of this powder kept in a box emanates ethylene gas and ripens the fruit faster which can be brought to the market. Earlier, the grass kept in the mango box also used to give out ethylene gas and ripen the fruit.
However this process is time consuming and merchants want to make profits faster. Powder should not touch fruits FSSAI directive stipulates that, ethephon powder should not directly touch the fruit. If it touches, it can cause serious diseases. The pouch has to be kept in the box.
Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 has prohibited the use of calcium carbide and action is taken against the individual using it under Sec 59 of the Act.4 Kalamana merchants have gas chamber.
Four merchants in Kalmana have gas chambers for ripening mangoes where ethephon powder is used. Construction of the chamber requires large amount of land and money. Hence small merchants do not construct such gas chambers and ripe mangoes inboxes with ethephon powder.