It is summer-time; which clearly means, it is time to gorge on some succulent and sweet mangoes. These bright yellow delights are not just delicious but have many health benefits to offer. Mangoes come packed with a host of nutrients like fibre, vitamin C, vitamin A and numerous antioxidants that promote health. While this fruit is hailed as the king of fruits, there is a chance it may come loaded with toxic chemicals that may do more harm than good. Many fruits are said to be artificially ripened and sold off as natural and fresh. Have you been consuming extra juicy and sweet mangoes lately? Beware, they might be chemically ripened. According to Ashwin Bhadri, CEO of Equinox Labs, “Artificial ripening of mangoes is on a rise across India, citing the scarcity of the product in the market and its demand by consumers”.
So how are mangoes ripened with the use of chemicals? According to Ashwin Bhadri, Calcium carbide is the leading chemical that is used in this process. “Pouches of calcium carbide are placed with mangoes. When this chemical comes in contact with moisture, acetylene gas is produced, the effects of which are similar to ethylene, the one that is naturally used for fruit ripening process. Not just mangoes, several other fruits are artificially ripened and the problem is global.”
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Artificial ripening of mangoes is on a rise across India
As per Ashwin Bhadri, use of calcium carbide for artificial ripening is prohibited by FSSAI, considering the health problems they pose. From disorders like dizziness, sleepiness, mental confusion and memory distortion, calcium carbide is known to affect the neurological system. The traces of arsenic and phosphorous hydride cause additional damage to the hormonal functioning.
The fruit quality falls substantially with the use of calcium carbide; the fruit is overly soft, lacks the natural sweetness that otherwise it might have and rot quicker than the natural pace. Since the quantity of calcium carbide depends on how raw the product is, the level of toxicity increases considerably.
Here’s a simple method to check if the mangoes have been artificially ripened or not.
“Put the mangoes in a bucket of water. If the mangoes sink, they are naturally ripened. If they float, they are harvested artificially. Also, an artificially ripened mango will have very little or no juice dripping out. One might even experience burning sensation while having artificially harvested mango.” suggests Ashwin Bhadri.
The other methods to identify ripening use chemical techniques, and for those, it is best to get the fruits tested by an NABL Certified Laboratory. They can analyse and put forth the presence and the levels of contamination, with not one but all of the chemicals used in the ripening process.
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Here are some more ways to identify chemically ripened mangoes-
1. Check the colour
In an artificially ripened mango, there is a chance that there are patches of green. These patches will be distinguishable from the yellow ones.
When you eat ripe mangoes, you may feel a slight burning in the mouth. Some may experience stomach ache, diarrhoea, et al.
3. No juice may mean it is artificial
Another indicator is to squeeze juice out of the mango. A well ripened mango may have lots of juice in it; however, artificially ripened mango may have little or no juice.
Make sure you keep these tips handy to be able to identify artificially ripened mangoes next time you go fruit and veggie shopping. Happy Summers!
(The India News staff does not claim ownership of this content, source sited above)