The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has cautioned Nigerians against ripening fruits with calcium carbide and purchasing drugs from street vendors.
NAFDAC’s Director-General, Mojisola Adeyeye, represented by Leonard Omokpariola, said this at a sensitisation workshop in Awka, the capital of Anambra State.
Adeyeye said the consumption of fruits ripened with calcium carbide may cause cancer, heart failure, kidney failure, and liver failure, which must be avoided.
She stated that calcium carbide generally contained impurities such as arsenic, lead particles, phosphorus, and others that pose several serious health hazards.
Adeyeye also noted that fruits ripened with calcium carbide could cause frequent thirst, irritation in the mouth and nose, weakness, permanent skin damage, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, and skin ulcers.
According to her, artificially ripened fruits can be identified by their unnatural colour, particularly bananas and plantains, which may exhibit an unnatural uniform yellow colour with darker stems.
The NAFDAC director general pointed out that naturally ripened fruits tend to have brown or black spots, whereas artificially ripened fruits might show traces of powdery substances and peel off quickly.
She noted that since 2019, the agency has taken some decisive steps, such as sensitisation of the public through different media outlets, enforcement through intelligence, and raids in fruit markets that have resulted in seizures and destruction of violative products.
Adeyeye added that the NAFDAC had commissioned a scientific study on the best approach to mitigating the health hazards posed by the ripening of fruits with carbides.
“The artificial ripening of fruits quality would lead to the considerable loss of properties such as colour, taste and feel, and such practise does not give the natural aroma and flavour to the fruits,
“These fruits do not possess uniform colour and are less juicy than when ripened naturally and have a comparatively shorter shelf life,” she added.
She also stated that acetylene produced by calcium carbide would affect the neurological system, reduce oxygen supply to the brain, and further induce prolonged hypoxia.
SOURCE: The Guardian