Visakhapatnam: Are you buying a basket of mangoes? Beware of the quality. The department of Food Safety, Health and Family Welfare carried out surprise checks at various fruit shops in the city on Monday to check the use of artificially ripening chemicals such as calcium carbide in mangoes.
Confirming this to TOI, food safety assistant controller B Hanumantha Rao said they collected samples of mangoes from various sellers in the city on Monday. The samples were sent to the laboratory at Nacharam in Hyderabad to scientifically check the presence of artificial ripening chemicals, Rao said.
“Consumption of mangoes with Calcium Carbide is dangerous as it can lead to health problems like cancer, damage to the nervous system and indigestion. We have started keeping a vigil on the mango selling outlets in the city and will do so till the end of the mango season. If anyone finds artificially ripen mangoes they can bring it to our notice for further action,” Hanumantha Rao said.
On Monday, the Food Safety officials collected samples from TTD Kalyanamandapam in MVP Colony and Poorna Market. According to the mango sellers, most of the artificially ripened mangoes are from Duvvada. “If our laboratory tests prove that the mangoes are being ripened with calcium carbide, we will take action against the seller as well as the supplier. We allow artificially ripening of fruits with ethane, but not calcium carbide,” Hanumantha Rao said.
Meanwhile, horticulture department assistant director G Prabhakara Rao said naturally ripened mangoes will hit the market by the end of April or first week of May. “Because of high demand and price of mangoes in the beginning of summer, some mango traders use chemicals to ripen the fruit,” Prabhakara Rao said.
The horticulture officer said the department conducts a special mango mela every summer, in April-end or first week of May.
“Mango seeds take 100 to 105 days to ripen after its flower stage. If any mango is harvested before that, they are not fully matured. Both mango growing farmers as well as the consumers should know this,” said a horticulture professor from Dr YSR Horticulture University, Venkataramannagudem, in West Godavari district.
Horticulture officials said good varieties of mangoes like Banginapalli, Suvarna Rekha and Cheruku Rasaalu will come to the city in May. Moreover, artificially ripened mangoes have yellowish skin and white pulp whereas naturally ripened mangoes are yellow both in and out.