Mangoes ripened with calcium carbide seized in Kasba Peth

In the first case of mango adulteration this season, Food and Drug Administration officials on Tuesday seized adulterated mangoes from one Malik Shaikh, a fruit vendor in Kasba Peth area.

Malik had allegedly injected the fruit with calcium carbide, the use of which is banned because "it may contain traces of arsenic and phosphorus that pose serious threat to human health".

FDA had earlier warned of strict action, including prosecution, if calcium carbide was used by traders to ripen mangoes. While issuing its directive, the agency had however allowed use of ethylene gas to ripen fruits.

On Tuesday, officials seized 706 dozen mangoes worth Rs 1.23 lakh, which were stored in a room on top of the Vithal Temple at Kasba Peth, FDA Assistant Commissioner Dilip Sangat said.

It takes four to five days for mangoes to ripen naturally. However, if calcium carbide is used, it takes just about a day or two, Sangat said.

In another case, FDA officials seized gutkha, worth Rs 2.68 lakh from one Nilesh Balghat of Shirur taluka.

Meanwhile, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Minister Satej Patil heard at least 91 appeals at a special hearing held at the Circuit house here.

"Most of them related to appeals by pharmacists. FDA had conducted inspections, in which chemists' licences were suspended after the officials detected irregularities during selling of drugs. There were other cases in which pharmacists were not present at the time the drugs were sold. Sometimes, drugs were given despite the customer failing to produce a certified doctor's prescription. In several other cases, we have withheld their licence for about 30 to 50 days," Patil said.

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