Mangoes, the most sought after seasonal fruit in the summer, have arrived into markets in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu by the lorry load but corporation health official wave raised a note of caution saying the fruit may have been prematurely ripened with calcium carbide.
Industrial-grade calcium carbide may contain traces of deadly arsenic as also phosphorus and its use for ripening of fruit is illegal in India as it is in most countries.
Tirunelveli (in Tamil Nadu) city corporation food inspector Sankaralingam said five teams have been formed under his supervision to check the sales of the artificially ripened mangoes.
However, customers will be purchasing other summer fruits — jackfruit, watermelon and cucumber — at their own risk. Hariharan, former vice-principal of Thoothukudi Medical College Hospital, points out that most jackfruit, watermelon, and cucumber have oxytocin, which may cause stomach problems and neurotic complications.
The schedule H drug, oxytocin, is being administered to watermelon, jackfruit and cucumber plants to make the fruits much bigger and glossy, said the physician, who had treated around 10 patients with diarrhea, abdominal pain and giddiness and they all were reportedly affected by such problems after consuming jackfruit and watermelon.
Accepting the fact that watermelons, jackfruits, and cucumbers on sale have mostly been administered oxytocin, Mr. Sankaralingam said there was no concept of the quality test to check oxytocin contamination as it was injected directly into the roots of the plants.
(Note: Reproduced from Deccan Chronicle http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/lifestyle/health/beware-glossy-fruits-say-experts-098)