FSSAI puts stringent check on use of calcium carbide for fruit ripening

Standard Operating Procedure detailing all aspects of the artificial ripening of fruits by
ethylene gas has already been issued by FSSAI

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has prohibited the use of Calcium carbide, also known as ‘Masala’ as a ripening agent for artificial ripening of the fruits as per the provision in sub-regulation 2.3.5 of Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition andRestrictions on Sales) Regulation, 2011.

Recently, it has been brought to the notice of FSSAI that the traders/handlers are still indulging in use of the prohibited material i.e. calcium carbide or are using the approved sources of ethylene gas in an incorrect manner like dipping the fruits in ripening agent solutions which may render the fruits unsafe for human consumption.

In order to ensure that fruit ripening is strictly regulated as per the permitted practices through the use of approved sources of ethylene only, FSSAI has recognised ‘ethylene’ as a safe ripening agent at a concentration up to 100 ppm (100μl/L) depending upon the crop, variety, and maturity through sources like ethephon, ethereal etc.

Strict actions are intended to be taken against traders/fruits handlers/FBOs (food business operators) operating ripening chambers if not complying with the right directions and not refraining from using any prohibited material or deploying approved sources of ethylene in an incorrect manner for artificial ripening of the fruits.

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