Wednesday, January 23, 2019 | ePaper

Poison on sale!

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RAB in a drive on Thursday seized 1000 maunds of chemically ripened mangoes from city's Jatrabari wholesale market and destroyed those on the spot.

Special Correspondent :
A rampant sale of chemically ripening fruits is going on in city markets and eating of those fruits exposes health risk to millions of consumers.
An investigation of BSTI has unearthed the rampant use of artificially ripening chemical agents like calcium carbide and ethophene by unscrupulous traders.
The chemical is used to hasten ripening of bananas, mangoes, papaya, litchi, apple and watermelon.  
"Unscrupulous traders are selling chemically ripen fruits in the city markets, though the use of chemical for ripening fruits is banned," Sarwar Alam, a magistrate of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), told The New Nation yesterday.
In a crackdown on Thursday, RAB seized 1000 maunds mangoes ripen with toxic chemical from the city's Jatrabari wholesale market.
The RAB also arrested eight unscrupulous traders during the drive led by Magistrate Sarwar Alam.
"We have found presence of hazardous chemicals in the mangoes. Ethophene spray and carbide are being used to ripen the green mangoes and the chemical is very harmful to human health. Intake of ethophene can lead to damage of liver and kidney," said Alam.
He said use of chemical in the process of fruit ripening is completely banned due to the known side effect.
When asked, the RAB Magistrate said, "Similar drives will also be conducted in city's other fruits market to curb sale of fruits mixed with toxic chemical."
Earlier on Tuesday, RAB in a drive seized 400 maunds of chemically ripen mangoes from city's Karwan Bazar wholesale market.
Talking to The New Nation, traders at Jatrabari fruits market said mango needs three months to mature on the tree, only after that it can be plucked and kept for natural ripening.
They, however, said, if such a process is allowed, the market will be flooded with fruits at a time, leading to price crash. So, the early plucked mangoes cannot be ripened without using chemical agents.
"We did not use chemical for fruit's ripening. Farmers are doing so to bring on the crop early, only in the hope of a better price," said a trader.
He, however, said, if the mango is allowed to ripen naturally, it will arrive in markets in the last week of May.
"The fruits that we sell are ripened with chemical. It is very useful for us as it increases the shelf life of the fruits and makes them attractive to the buyers," a wayside fruit-vendor in the city told The New Nation yesterday.
He, however, said that he does not know anything about the health risks of chemically ripen fruits.
"Its a reality that traders are selling toxic fruits in the market. Traders are using harmful substances in the fruit to prevent them from perishing," said another trader.

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