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Why artificially ripened fruits are dangerous to eat – NAFDAC

National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians against buying and consuming fruits that were forced to ripe with calcium…

National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians against buying and consuming fruits that were forced to ripe with calcium carbide.

The Director-General of the agency, Mojisola Adeyeye gave the warning Tuesday at the South East NAFDAC Zone Media Sensitization Workshop on Danger of Drug Hawking and Ripening of Fruits with Calcium Carbide held in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

The programme was organised by NAFDAC for the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists.

Adeyeye represented by NAFDAC Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research, Dr Leonard Omokpariola, said the consumption of fruits ripened with calcium carbide could cause cancer, heart failure, kidney failure, and liver failure and we must avoid such.

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She said that calcium carbide generally contained impurities such as arsenic, lead particles, phosphorus, and others that pose several serious health hazards to human health.

According to the NAFDAC boss, fruits ripened with calcium carbide could cause frequent thirst, irritation in mouth and nose, weakness, permanent skin damage, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting, and skin ulcer.

She said although fruits provide the body with micronutrients that improve immunity and prevent diseases among other benefits, consumption of fruits ripened with calcium carbide is dangerous to one’s health.

“Fruits artificially ripened with calcium carbide may be ripe on the skin, the inside remains unripe.

“You can identify such artificially ripened fruits if you notice that the fruits are all yellow whereas the stem is dark, this is true especially with banana and plantain. In addition, naturally ripened fruits usually have brown or black spots, while those artificially ripened have traces of powdery substances and peel off quickly,” she said.

The NAFDAC DG noted that artificial ripening of fruits would lead to considerable loss of properties such as colour, taste and feel, and such practice does not give the natural aroma and flavour to the fruits.

“These fruits do not possess uniform colour and are less juicy than when ripened naturally and have comparatively shorter shelf life,” she said.

She further explained that acetylene produced by calcium carbide would affect the neurological system and reduce oxygen supply to the brain and further induces prolonged hypoxia.

According to her, these chemicals are hazardous to pregnant women and children and might lead to headaches, dizziness, mood disturbances, mental confusion, memory loss, swelling in the brain caused by excessive fluids, sleepiness, seizure, and others.

She said that NAFDAC had noticed the dangerous practice of sale and consumption of fruits artificially ripened with calcium carbide as well as illegal hawking of drugs in the open market.

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