To promote a natural and safe way of ripening fruits, the Delhi government will soon organise a special campaign to educate and spread awareness among fruit traders and merchants. They would be taught how to use ethylene to ripen fruits.
The decision was taken in a meeting at Delhi Secretariat on Monday to discuss alternative techniques for ripening fruits.
Delhi health minister Ashok Kumar Walia, who chaired the meeting, said teams from the department of prevention of food adulteration (PFA) will meet fruit merchants to create awareness.
"Ethylene gas is widely used by Mother Dairy, Safal and other such agencies. It is a safe agent to ripen fruits, gives good colour; such fruits have better shelf life than fruits ripened with the help of calcium carbide," Walia said.
"Calcium carbide is banned as an agent to ripen fruits due to its carcinogenic nature," he added.
Several representatives of fruits and vegetables merchants association and scientists from Indian Agriculture Research Institute and Shri Ram Institute of Industrial Research also attended the meeting.
Health department officials said the installation of a generator to produce ethylene costs between Rs 75,000 and Rs 100,000, which is probably why the traders avoid using it.
In this season of mangoes, Walia said, people should also adopt natural methods of ripening fruits at homes to ensure safety and quality of fruits.
Though use of calcium carbide is banned across the Capital, PFA officials accepted it might be used in a subtle manner.
"But despite a number of raids to the mandis over the past few weeks, we have not found traces of adulteration," an official said.