The manner in which fruits are ripened at the Mandi board pack house in Ludhiana reveals the unsafe and harmful methods in practice, which is highly detrimental to health.
A recent investigation by health authorities has found that fruits stored in the godown have a coating of calcium carbide and acetylene gas, both of which hasten the ripening process.
Bananas were found to be ripened with the use of acetylene gas. Raw fruits were being ripened overnight using this method so that they could be sold next day in the market.
According to the tests conducted on these fruits, 6 out of 12 fruit samples were found to be contaminated and hence did not pass the test.
"The gases and chemicals being used to mature the fruits could cause major diseases like cancer and hepatitis B. We want to raid more godowns but the police do not co-operate with the health department. We have filed a court case against the defaulters," the DHO said.
The district Mandi officer Rajpal Dhaliwal, admitted to the use of acetylene gas to ripen fruits.
"We have six ripening chambers there. It is safe to eat the artificially ripened fruit recommended by the health organizations," he adds.