On 10th March 2023, FSSAI issued a press release about the Standard Operating Procedures of Artificial Ripening of Fruits
The FSSAI has restated its ban on Calcium Carbide for the artificial ripening of fruits.
According to the provision in sub-regulation 2.3.5 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulation, 2011, the FSSAI had prohibited the use of calcium carbide, also known as “Masala,”. A ripening agent for artificially ripening fruits due to the presence of traces of arsenic and phosphorus. Which are harmful to humans and may cause dizziness, frequent thirst, irritation, weakness, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, skin ulcer.
Moreover they have also stated that the gas released from calcium carbide which is acetylene gas is very harmful for the food handlers.
The FSSAI has confirmed ethylene as a safe ripening agent upto 100 ppm (100μl/L) concentration. Based on the crop, type, and maturity through sources. Like ethephon, ethereal, etc. to ensure that the artificial ripening of fruit is a highly regulated procedure. Ethylene gas treatment of unripe fruits initiates the ripening process until the fruit begins to produce significant amounts of ethylene on its own.
The FSSAI has already published a SOP on the artificial ripening of fruits with ethylene gas. Even so, despite these guidelines, the FSSAI found that some dealers were improperly utilizing approved sources of ethylene gas. Such as dipping the fruits in ripening agent solutions, or using banned materials like calcium carbide.
Thus, it is mandated that all traders, fruit handlers, and FBOs running ripening chambers fully adhere to the aforementioned instructions.
Any such occurrences will be dealt with harshly, and the offender or offender(s) will face heavy consequences.
Furthermore, consumers may bring violations of the law to the attention of the relevant State Commissioners of Food Safety in order for them to take appropriate action against the offenders. These violations include the improper use of ripening agents for fruits or the use of Calcium carbide (Masala).