NAFDAC warns public against consumption of artificially ripened fruits

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THE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has warned members of the public against consumption of fruits artificially ripened with calcium carbide.

The agency also expressed concerns over illegal hawking of drugs in the open markets across the country, reiterating its determination to rid Nigeria of the menace of substandard and falsified medicines, unwholesome foods, corrosive cosmetics, and other substandard regulated products.

NAFDAC said it had noticed the dangerous practice of sale and consumption of fruits artificially ripened with calcium carbide, describing it dangerous to human health.

Ripening is a unique aspect of plant development, which makes the fruit edible, softer, sweeter, more palatable, nutritious, and attractive.

Delivering a keynote address at the flag-off of NAFDAC Media Sensitization Workshop on Dangers of Drug Hawking and Ripening of Fruits with Calcium Carbide in Abuja yesterday,Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, regretted the nefarious activities by certain unpatriotic and unscrupulous citizens in the country.

She told Nigerians to desist from patronizing fruits ripened with calcium carbide to avoid endangering their health.

“Fruits provide the body with micronutrients that improve immunity and prevent diseases among other benefits. 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, etc or any other fruits ripened with calcium carbide is dangerous to health,”she said.

While noting that ripening of fruits with carbides was another public challenge facing Nigeria at present, the NAFDAC boss said the agency had deployed a multifaceted approach to tackle the menace.

She listed the effect of artificial ripening on fruit quality to include but not limited 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. Calcium Carbide when sprayed with water reacts chemically to produce acetylene, which acts like ethylene and ripens fruits by a similar process.

”Calcium carbide generally contains impurities such as arsenic, lead particles, phosphorus, etc., that pose several very serious health hazards.

“Consumption of fruits containing these impurities may cause cancer, heart, kidney and liver failure. They may also cause frequent thirst, irritation in mouth and nose, weakness, permanent skin damage, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting, skin ulcer and so forth. Higher exposure may cause undesired fluid build-up in lungs (pulmonary oedema).”

nature and erodes the mucosal tissue in the abdominal region and disrupts intestinal functions.


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