Dangers of eating calcium carbide ripened fruits
It’s a common practice in Nigeria for fruit sellers to use calcium carbide to ripen their products . Though in many countries this practice is prohibited or outrightly bound due to the harzadous nature of calcium carbide. Calcium carbide contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus hydrides which are poisonous.
Ripening is a natural process undergone by fruits when they are fully matured. During ripening fruits
soften, change colour and develop characteristic aroma and flavour. There is also a reduction in sourness (acids)
and increase in the sweetness, etc. What the farmers do is to artificially ripen these fruits with chemicals even before they are fully matured.
Traditional versus Artificial ripening
There several methods employed by farmers to hasten the ripening process traditionally. Produce like plantain and banana are put in a store and covered with dry banana leaves. Unripe fruits like mangoes, oranges etc are put in paper bags and covered to hasten ripening.
What these practices do is that it increase production and accumulation of high levels of ethylene to hasten the ripening process . Ethylene is a ripening hormone – a chemical substance produced by fruits with the specific biological action of accelerating the normal process of fruit maturation and senescence (dying or going into dormancy). arimifoods. com
In artificial ripening fruits are harvested before maturity and treated with chemicals to force it to ripen. The Chemical mostly used for this is calcium carbide . This chemical when in contact with water produces acetylene which hasten ripening. The reaction also produces traces of other chemical like arsenic and phosphorus aside acetylene which is poisonous.
Side effects of carbide ripened fruits
Consumption of calcium carbide ripened fruits is harzadous and dangerous to health. The rate at which some dangerous diseases that were uncommon in the past has increased in recent year it so amazing.
The early symptoms of carbide poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea with or without blood, burning sensation of the chest and abdomen, thirst, weakness, difficulty in swallowing, irritation or burning in the eyes and skin, permanent eye damage, ulcers on the skin, irritation in the mouth, nose and throat. Throat sores, cough, and wheezing and shortness of breath may also occur soon after exposure to the chemical.
Higher exposure may cause a build-up of fluids in the lungs. For instance; eating artificiallyripened mangoes causes stomach upset because the alkaline substance is an irritant that erodes the mucosal tissue in the stomach and disrupts intestinal function. Chronic exposure to the chemical could lead to peptic ulcer.
It’s so appalling that some business men despite being aware of the dangerous effect of this practice still go ahead to do so. Their actions are purely driven by greed and profit maximization
How to detect carbide ripened fruits.
Carbide ripened fruits lack the characteristics aroma and flavour associated with naturally ripened fruits. Artificially ripen bananas has uniform attractive lemon yellow color. Moreover their stalks are green and they do not have any black spots.
Naturally ripened bananas are dark yellow and more likely to have black spots on their body and their stalks are black.
How to remove carbide from fruit.
Washing the fruit properly before consumption will get rid of the contaminates.