LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority continued its crackdown against people allegedly involved in ripening fruit through harmful chemicals. As many as 97 fruit markets and 1,044 vehicles transporting produce were checked throughout the province.
A total of 2,615kg chemically contaminated fruits were discarded or disposed of.
Punjab Food Authority DG Captain (R) Mohammad Usman said the prohibited calcium carbide was used to artificially ripen the disposed fruits. He added that 30 fruit markets in Lahore Zone, 37 in Rawalpindi, 15 in Multan and 15 in Muzaffargarh Zone were checked. A total of 1,418 stalls and 1,044 transportation vehicles were checked and contaminated fruits were discarded. As many as 388 stalls were served warning notices.
The DG said that due to the increase in demand for mangoes in the summer, calcium carbide is used for artificial ripening. Arsenic and phosphorus particles in calcium carbide cause many diseases including cancer.
“Like modern countries, using Ethylene gas to ripen fruit is safe for human health. No one will be allowed to sell poison in the shape of ripened fruits with calcium carbide in the summer. According to the instructions of Punjab chief minister, we are committed to eliminating harmful food from Punjab.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2019.
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