Vegetables washed with diluted acid continue to be sold here. About three months ago, the police had caught some vegetable wholesalers for selling acid-washed ginger, but now carrot and brinjal, washed with acid, are being supplied to the market.
A reader of the HT, who bought about 2 kg carrots, complained that he found that the carrots decayed in two days and they developed small holes as they were washed with acid.
Some other citizens have also complained about other vegetables, which seemed to be treated unnaturally, being supplied to the market. Pumpkin, bell pepper, radish and other vegetables are also being treated unnaturally.
Superintendent of police (SP) Desraj said that if these vegetables were being washed in the city, they would act upon, but the vegetables are mostly being supplied from markets outside the district. Desraj appealed to citizens to inform the police if they found such type of acid-treated vegetables.
He added, ”Earlier, we had caught some vegetable wholesalers washing ginger with acid on a clue. People are welcome if they come forward to help the police.”
District health officer (DHO) Harbhajan Ram said that they would collect samples of vegetables and examine them. Sources in the health department said that, next week a meeting with state food commissioner has been scheduled to plan action against such suppliers.
A lawyer at the district courts, Sandeep Kumar, said, “The law against such activities should be hard. Such activities come under section 269, 270 and 272 of Indian Penal Code. These sections are bailable and the culprits get bail in a few hours from the police station, so these people fearlessly indulge in such activities and play with public health.”
A doctor at the civil hospital, Gurmail Singh, said the vegetables washed with acid or detergent could cause cancer as these acids and detergents have carcinogenic (cancer causing) effects on human body, and the oxytocin injections are being used to increase the size of pumpkins, cucumbers and such vegetables have bad effects on male fertility, as oxytocin is a female hormone and responsible for the growth of female body parts.