With the Vigilance Department cracking the whip on traders using harmful chemicals to ripen mangoes artificially, the latter appear to have found a new alternative to the traditionally used calcium carbide.
A series of raids conducted by the vigilance and enforcement officials on mango godowns at Chinnadoddigallu, Vempada and Nakkapalli areas in Visakhapatnam district on Thursday morning revealed that the traders were using a new chemical ethephon to ripen the fruits.
The officials seized more than 25 tonnes of mangoes that were being artificially ripened with the harmful chemical. According to vigilance officials, the traders would sprinkle the chemical inside the mango cartons to ripen them.
The vigilance team, led by SP (vigilance wing) D. Koteswara Rao, conducted raids at six places on Thursday and seized the mango stock and alerted the food safety officials.
DSP (vigilance) C.M. Naidu said that use of ethephon for ripening fruits could attract a jail term of minimum one year and a fine of at least ₹10,000.
According to food safety officials, consumption of fruits ripened by ethephon, an insecticide, can cause mouth ulcers, gastric related problems and skin rashes.
“We have sealed the godowns and registered cases against the traders under the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act- 2006. We have collected samples and will send them to a laboratory in Hyderabad for testing. Based on the test reports, we will file charge-sheet against the traders,” added the food safety officials.