Artificial ripening of fruits and vegetables can be dangerous due to the chemicals used for ripening. Nowadays, formers harvest fruits and vegetables quite before they are ripe. After that, traders ripe them using different chemicals.
Fruits and vegetables are a good source of fruits and vegetables. The World Health Organization recommends 3 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
However, the benefits of fruits and vegetables depend upon factors like how they ripe. The best way to get maximum benefits is to let them ripen on the plant itself. Many factors affect the process of ripening including temperature and humidity.
Ripped fruits and vegetables are often spoilt when transported to remote areas. The reason is the prolonged-time period before consumption and poor transport practices.
To avoid the loss, the farmers pick the unripe fruits and vegetables. The traders then use different chemicals to ripe them.
Natural and artificial ripening differences
The fruits produce a gaseous compound called ethylene which is important for the ripening process. The level of ethylene in fruits increases with their growth and regulates the ripening process.
Recent studies suggest that ethylene regulates many genes. These genes control the ripening process of fruits. These genes express to produce different enzymes that convert polysaccharides of fruits into simpler sugars. As a result, it softens the fruit.
Different chemicals mimic the same effect in artificial ripening. Traders use ethephon as a ripening chemical which diffuses into the fruit and decomposes ethylene.
Another chemical that the traders use is calcium carbide that produces acetylene. However, it causes several serious problems related o toxicity.
Toxic effects of Calcium carbide
Calcium carbide destroys the organic composition micronutrients in fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, it only changes the color of fruits. The fruits remain raw from inside.
Industrial grade calcium carbide is often contaminated with toxic chemicals like arsenic and phosphorus. Arsenic and phosphorus toxicity cause a number of signs and symptoms. These include diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, burning sensation in the chest, abdomen, and eyes, ulcers on the skin and many more.
Artificially ripped mangoes can upset the stomach. It can cause harm to the stomach lining. When a person consumes such chemicals for a longer duration, they can cause peptic ulcer.
Some of the studies suggest that calcium carbide affects the neurological system. It induces the condition of prolonged hypoxia. It may result in dizziness, headache, sleepiness, numbness in limbs, memory loss, low blood pressure, and seizures.
Pregnant and lactating women should particularly avoid such fruits and vegetables.
Under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954, the FSSAI has banned Calcium carbide in India. However, the authority has not implemented it yet through any effective plan.
One can distinguish between the naturally and artificially ripen fruits and vegetables. The artificially ripped fruits have a smooth and uniform color. Such fruits have shorted span and their taste is less enjoyable.
The food authorities suggest the washing and peeling of fruits and vegetables before consumption. This can minimize the risk of calcium carbide. Moreover, Chemical analysis also helps to find out whether contamination is present or not.