Launching a drive against stocking and sale of chemically ripened mangoes, the District Food Safety wing of the Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration Department has seized five tonnes of chemically-ripened mangoes from a godown at Perunali in Kamudhi block in the district.
Acting on a tip off, a team of food safety officials, led by M.J.C. Bose, District Designated Officer, visited the godown owned by J. Palanikumar on Monday and found that he had used ethipon and calcium carbide to speed up the process of ripening of mangoes.
Dr. Bose said the merchant, who procured the mangoes in the pre-ripening stage from Aruppukottai and Madurai, stocked them in the godown and sprayed ethipon in liquid form, using a sprayer for ripening. The officials seized the sprayer, chemicals and the entire quantity of about 500 kg of ripened mangoes.
The chemically ripened mangos were taken to the compost yard of the Sayalkudi town panchayat and destroyed by pouring phenol, he said, adding that the godown owner was served a warning notice.
Ethipon chemical in gas form was permitted to speed up ripening process but spraying in liquid form was banned, he said. The chemical in liquid form, penetrated into the pulp and caused various health hazards, he said. Use of calcium carbide for ripening was also banned, he said.
Dr. Bose was assisted in the drive by food safety officers Muthusamy, Venkateswaran, Thangasivam, John Peter and Chellapandi. The officials during the special drive found that there were no other godowns in the district.
Most of the merchants procured ripened mangoes directly from Madurai, he said.