Food safety officers collected 240 samples of various fruits and filed 124 cases against wholesale and retail fruit vendors who used the hazardous carbide and ethocyn for artificial ripening of fruits, Assistant Food Controller of Rayalaseema Zone Viswanatha Reddy said on Thursday.
Mr. Reddy and officers — Srinivasa Rao and K. Shankar — inspected Kurnool Rythu Bazaar and collected five samples of banana, watermelon, and orange. In all, 26 samples were collected in Kurnool district so far and laboratory reports were awaited, Mr. Viswanatha Reddy said.
A lab report received on Tuesday confirmed use of ethocyn, a liquid pesticide, for ripening banana, which was not permitted. Use of carbide or ethocyn would lead to cancer and gastric disorders, he said. Carbide was not used, but ethylene gas was used to ripen banana, he said.
The government was urged to recruit food safety officers to tide over shortage of staff, Mr. Reddy said.
He urged the media to expose instances of use of carbide or ethocyn for artificial ripening of fruits as a social responsibility measure.