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Do not be fooled by the sight of King Mangoes in market

Hyderabad: King Mangoes, which are currently available in the market, can be eaten by anyone who wants to be hospitalized. As one wise man once said, ‘What is sweet in the mouth is not always good in the stomach.’ Similarly, the fruits in the markets look nice and are amazing because the green nuts are chemically treated. Early seasonal varieties are domestic mangoes.

While the varieties are not available in the market currently, there is no doubt that the Bangenapalli King Mango varieties will be available in May and June.

Arrival of summer brings joy to the mango lovers, as their favourite king of fruits swamp into the markets. Simultaneously some circulated reports claim that the traders are using imported harmful chemicals to provide artificial repining to mangoes which cause serious health issues in humans.

Use of hazardous pesticides and chemicals has increased in mango cultivation for better yielding to crop storage and transportation to artificial ripening. One among them is the use of ethephon, it provides artificial ripening especially to mangoes while transporting to the city markets. The practice is being adopted just to milk the profit through dumping heaps of chemically-induced fruit into the markets unmindful of the health risk posed to humans.

Meanwhile at the Gaddiannaram agricultural market yard, also known as Kothapet Fruit Market, ‘ethephon’, a new type of chemical compound is being used beyond the prescribed limit putting the health of the citizens in jeopardy.

“The most commonly used chemical is called ethephon (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid). It penetrates into the fruit and decomposes ethylene. Another chemical that is regularly used is calcium carbide, which produces acetylene, which is an analogue of ethylene. It is, however, fraught with several problems. It is explosive in nature and studies have shown that it breaks down the organic composition of vitamins and other micronutrients.”

Besides, he said, it changes only the skin colour: the fruit remains raw inside. In addition, industrial grade calcium carbide is often found contaminated with trace amounts of arsenic and phosphorus, which are toxic chemicals.

Mangoes carry nutritional values like beta carotene, vitamin K, antioxidants, potassium and fibre. While beta carotene in mango boosts the immune system the vitamin-K increases bone strength in the body. The antioxidants in mangoes protect against eye problems. The fibre increases metabolism and potassium largely controls blood pressure while eliminating heart diseases.

However, on April 9 a team of officials visited Kothapet Fruit Market and took stock of the reports that harmful chemicals are being widely used to ripen the seasonal fruit.

“The team of officials consisting of food inspectors and analysts inspected the market. Though we haven’t found any violation on the stance we took samples for testing. However, we are constantly keeping an eye on the use of such harmful chemicals. If we find anyone violating the prescribed rule then we will definitely book a case against the errant,” informed Balaji Raju, Assistant Food Controller, GHMC.

Stating that the use of Ethephon is permissible but under prescribed manner, he said that the labourers, most of them from neighbouring Maharashtra, are filling sachets of Ethephon beyond prescribed level out of ignorance. “We have warned them not to resort to such things and do it as per the guidelines only. We will carry out inspection again in the days to come to ascertain whether they are following the prescribed format or not,” informed Laxminarayana Reddy, Senior Scientific Officer, State Food Laboratory.

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