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‘Mangoes’ can be as risky as Maggi, say experts in Indore

Manoj Ahuja, Hindustan Times, Indore|
Updated: Jun 13, 2015 20:12 IST

Calcium carbide ripened mangoes are being sold in Indore markets despite the fact that the chemical is harmful for health. (Utsav Jain/HT file)

After Maggi, artificially ripened mangoes can hit the harmful list, as hazardous ripeners are being used to make them look juicier and pulpier, health experts have warned.

Their concerns are not out of place as calcium carbide ripened mangoes are being openly sold in Indore markets despite the fact that the chemical is harmful to one's health and has been banned as a ripener, said the food safety department officials on Friday.

However, it is difficult to find an evidence of calcium carbide in the mangoes as it evaporates when it comes in contact with air moisture, food safety officer Manish Swami said, adding that calcium carbide is a carcinogenic substance and banned under Section 44A of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.

However, it continues to be widely used along with another ripener ethephon, which is easily available in the market as a pesticide and not restricted under the safety guidelines.

Ethephon too is harmful although it has not been banned. The official website of the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), however, states “ethephon is a pesticide and so it is not recommended as a ripening enhancer,” health experts said.

Mangoes ripened with calcium carbide are of uniform colour but are inferior in taste and flavour, nutrition expert Uttam Bansal said adding that calcium carbide ripened fruits contain traces of arsenic and phosphorus and may cause mouth irritation, stomach upset and result in headache, dizziness and mood disturbances.

Choithram mandi sources say the mangoes that arrive in Indore markets from other states are plucked raw by the farmers to prevent damage during transportation. 

They say that mangoes are ripened in two ways. One is to place a small packet containing calcium carbide with the boxes during transportation.

The chemical reacts with the moisture and releases acetylene which catalyses the ripening process.

The other way is to dip the mangoes in a solution of ethephon, which is a plant growth regulator.

In April this year, the food safety department in Goa destroyed 12,000 kg of mangoes that were ripened using ethephon. However, authorities in Indore have not taken any mango samples this year.

The Indore administration has set up an ethylene gas plant for artificial ripening of bananas through a safe and scientific manner. However, there is no arrangement for ripening of mangoes.

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 It is in season April through May and the fruit wei…

Mangoes date back 65 million years according to research ...

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The earlier fossil records of mango (Mangifera indica) from the Northeast and elsewhere were 25 to 30 million years old. The 'carbonized leaf fossil' from Damalgiri area of Meghalaya hills, believed to be a mango tree from the peninsular India, was found by Dr R. C. Mehrotra, senior scientist, BSIP and his colleagues. 

After careful analysis of the fossil of the mango leaf and leaves of modern plants, the BISP scientist found many of the fossil leaf characters to be similar to mangifera.

An extensive study of the anatomy and morphology of several modern-day species of the genus mangifera with the fossil samples had reinforced the concept that its centre of origin is Northeast India, from where it spread into neighbouring areas, says Dr. Mehrotra. 

The genus is believed to have disseminated into neighb…

INDIA 2016 : Mango production in state likely to take a hit this year

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Mangaluru: Vagaries of nature is expected to take a toll on the production of King of Fruits - Mango - in Karnataka this year. A combination of failure of pre-monsoon showers at the flowering and growth stage and spike in temperature in mango growing belt of the state is expected to limit the total production of mango to an estimated 12 lakh tonnes in the current season as against 14 lakh tonnes in the last calendar year.

However, the good news for fruit lovers is that this could see price of mangoes across varieties decrease marginally by 2-3%. This is mainly on account of 'import' of the fruit from other mango-growing states in India, said M Kamalakshi Rajanna, chairperson, Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Ltd.

Karnataka is the third largest mango-growing state in India after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Inaugurating a two-day Vasanthotsava organized by Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama and the Corporation at P…