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Ripening fruits with chemicals to be considered poisoning- Delhi HC

April 6, 2020

By Reetika Wadhwa and Priyanka Batra

Being an agrarian economy, India has emphasized on the importance of food being a source of sustenance as well as well-being. In order to monitor the quality and safety of the food products which are being commercialized in the Indian market, the Government of India enforced the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”) whereby the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (hereinafter referred to as “FSSAI”) lays down standardization parameters for articles of food in order to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Artificial ripening

Fruits have been ever since been a rich source of essential nutrients. The process in transformation of the fruits from their raw and juvenile stage to mature ripe form is very critical as it determines their perishability as well as shelf life. In order to ascertain the marketability of the fruits, the traders often take recourse to artificial ripening processes such as use of ethylene gas. Sometimes, low-cost and readily available options for early ripening is also used including adoption of carbide gas are chosen which are not safe from the perspective of human consumption.

Ripening through chemicals is poisonous

The Delhi High Court vide its order dated January 31, 2020[1] has held that using chemicals like calcium carbide to ripen mangoes is like poisoning somebody and the offenders should be liable for penalties like imprisonment for the same so as to create a deterrent impact. It would be noteworthy to mention here that the present PIL has been initiated by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court on its own motion to interrogate and curb the use of pesticides on food products, particularly on agricultural produce.

The judicial system has been taking active measures to create awareness regarding the harmful effects of pesticides and other chemicals used to boost the agricultural produce thereby adversely affecting the health of the consumers as well as resulting in dangerous health ailments such as cancer. The recent order of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court comes in furtherance to its objectives to prevent adulteration and promote healthy and safe products for consumption.

[1] http://www.ptinews.com/news/11185739_Using-chemicals-to-ripen-fruits-amounts-to-poisoning-somebody–send-culprits-to-jail–HC

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