Fruits are an invaluable part of every diet and you should have as many fruits as you can.
There is a lot of demand for fruits in Nigeria and this means that the business of selling fruits can be quite lucrative. To get even more profit quickly, some fruit vendors now use a chemical called calcium carbide to accelerate the ripening of the fruits they sell. This can cause serious health problems by making the fruits poisonous.
There has been growing concern over more cases of artificial fruit ripening with calcium carbide across the country. With fruit vendors becoming more proficient at this, this may be at the expense of your health as an unsuspecting consumer.
Many claim that this process is safe as long as they do not expose the inner portion of the fruits to the chemical, but NAFDAC disagrees.
“Fruit ripening is a unique aspect of plant development, which makes the fruit edible, softer, sweeter, more palatable, nutritious and attractive. However, the consumption of fruits such as mango, banana, plantain, guava, orange, grape or any other fruits ripened with calcium carbide is dangerous to health”, NAFDAC stated.
Why is it dangerous?
Calcium carbide often comes with high amounts of arsenic, lead and phosphorus. These can cause serious health problems such as cancer, heart, kidney and liver failure. They can also trigger frequent thirst, irritation in the mouth, nose, vomiting, skin ulcer, among other effects.
High exposure to the chemicals may cause fluid retention in the lungs and affect the neurological system, reducing oxygen supply to the brain AKA prolonged hypoxia.
How to identify artificially ripened fruits
One quick way to identify artificially ripened fruit is to carefully observe the variation of color. If the fruit looks near perfect, it may have been ripened with calcium carbide.
To be safe, please wash all your fruits thoroughly under running water before you eat them. You need the fruits but you should also make sure they are good for you.