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Use of chemical to ripen fruits: Commission urges consumers to examine fruits before purchase

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has advised consumers to examine fruits carefully before purchase.

Mr Babatunde Irukera, FCCPC’s Director-General in a statement on Friday in Abuja, gave the advice following reports received by the Commission that some retailers forcefully ripen fruits using chemicals.

“The FCCPC, formerly CPC, has received credible information that chemicals are used as forced and artificial ripening agents for fruits, vegetables, and other food items.

“Of particular note is the use of calcium carbide to hasten the ripening of oranges and mangoes.

“Consumers are advised to exercise caution and vigilance by examining what they purchase and intend to consume.

“In addition, it is always helpful to make routine inquiries before purchases, wait till the peak seasons for specific fruits to arrive, and thoroughly wash farm produce before consumption,’’ Irukera said.

The FCCPC boss said the Commission was collaborating with other relevant regulators and stakeholders in the food security value chain to prevent this continuing practice.

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He said measures were also in place to sensitise and educate stakeholders, as well as interdict and confiscate produce already otherwise compromised by exposure.

According to him, one way of detecting fruits or produce artificially ripened in this manner is by examining them carefully before purchase.

Irukera said forcefully ripened fruits does not have uniform colour, they appear with yellow and green patches, hard in texture, low in flavour, less juicy and not as sweet as they should be.

“Consumers, retailers, farmers, and others in the produce value and distribution chain are strongly advised to desist from this harmful practice.

“They should also be vigilant in order to prevent consumption of artificially ripened produce using CaC2.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Calcium carbide (CaC2) is a chemical compound containing arsenic and phosphorus, which have been scientifically proven to contain harmful carcinogenic properties.

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It is harmful and capable of serious adverse effects and possible fatalities associated with consumption of food containing them. (NAN)

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