Home » DISTRICT PRESS NEWS » FDA seizes artificially-ripened mangoes worth Rs 5 lakh

FDA seizes artificially-ripened mangoes worth Rs 5 lakh

PANAJI: The officials of Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on Friday, seized around 4000 kg of artificially-ripened mangoes worth Rs 5 lakh from a fruit vendor’s house at Siolim. The mangoes were destroyed at the Mapusa housing board.
“The mangoes were found to have been artificially ripened with ethopen/etheryl chemical which is a plant growth regulator commonly used by farmers. Through this treatment of chemical, mangoes get artificially ripened in 24 hours with a yellowish colour while the natural ripening process takes around four to five days,” said a senior food safety officer.
The raid was conducted following a tip-off regarding use of chemicals to artificially ripen the mangoes. During the raid, the FDA officials found artificially-ripened stocks of mangoes in the custody of S Banaulikar and several empty plastic bottles of ethopen/etheryl chemical in the backyard of the premises. Plastic buckets and tubs, that were used for preparing the chemical solution, were also found.
Officials said these methods make mangoes appear bright yellow and have a longer shelf life but are dangerous for consumption.
The person carrying out artificial ripening of fruits could get punishment upto 3 years of imprisonment or fine of upto Rs 5 lakh or both under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. “We are in the process of conducting further investigation before initiating any final action as per the Act against the vendor,” director of FDA Salim Veljee said.
The official further informed that “we had also done a similar surveillance last month in Siolim but only found discarded empty chemical bottles.” Also the food safety analysis on mango, after lapse of several hours, does not show positive results, hence no action can be taken.
A special team of laboratory analysts of the FDA, which accompanied and assisted the enforcement officials at the site, conducted spot analytical identification tests of the chemical used for the artificial ripening.
With the mango season arriving in the state, the food safety department has tightened its noose on the sale of artificially-ripened mangoes and in last 15 days it has kept constant surveillance in Siolim area in the north, Gandhi Market, Malbhat, Zari waddo in South Goa and the area near Apollo hospital.
With use of calcium carbide not allowed to ripen the mangoes, the traders have now started using ethopen chemical to do the same, which is a plant growth regulator. The chemical is often used by wholesalers who want to offload large stocks before the arrival of the main season, so that they can capitalise on the initial demand.


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