Chemicals and mangoes don’t mix

I love mangoes but news reports such as this one make me want to give up this king of fruits. Traders looking to make a quick buck are using calcium carbide to ripen mangoes

It appears that the practice of using calcium carbide has been going on for quite a while and is quite widespread in the country. There are plenty of health hazards which the consumer rarely knows.

Calcium carbide reduces the ripening period from 7 days to 3-4 days. What’s worrying is that the artificially ripened fruit often looks better than the one that has gone through the natural process.

This is yet another instance of a chemical being misused. Government efforts to cub the use of calcium carbide have failed. Is the green brigade on its way or should I turn to organic mangoes?


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3 Responses to Chemicals and mangoes don’t mix

  1. Clay 5 June, 2008 at 10:29 pm #


    “The fast ripening of fruits means they may contain various harmful properties. A commonly used agent in the ripening process is calcium carbide, a material most commonly used for welding purposes. Calcium carbide treatment of food is extremely hazardous because it contains traces of arsenic and phosphorous. Once dissolved in water, the carbide produces acetylene gas. Acetylene gas may affect the neurological system by inducing prolonged hypoxia. The findings are headache, dizziness, mood disturbances, sleepiness, mental confusion, memory loss, cerebral edema and seizures. We report the case of a previously healthy 5 year-old girl with no chronic disease history who was transferred to our Emergency Department with an 8-h history of coma and delirium. A careful history from her father revealed that the patient ate unripe dates treated with calcium carbide.”

    From: Calcium carbide poisoning via food in childhood. Journal of Emergency Medicine, Volume 32, Issue 2, Pages 179 – 180, H. Per, S. Kurtoğlu, F. Yağmur, H. Gümüş, S. Kumandaş, M. Poyrazoğlu

  2. Clay 5 June, 2008 at 10:31 pm #

    also this

  3. GAM VEnkatasamy 14 May, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    I have seen in Kovilpatti most of the retailers are using chemicals to ripen mangoes. Officials never care about that. For them their regular bribe is enough. We public should not any mangoes. It is possible in India. It is an idiotic activity. We should unite to abort these activities. Rigid rules implementation leads to good money for the officials. Each and every one of us try to stop the menace.

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