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NHRC seeks report on artificial ripening of fruit

Bhubaneswar: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report from the health ministry on the action taken to stop the use of calcium carbide for the artificial ripening of fruit, a petitioner said Friday.

In response to a petition filed by Odisha-based human rights campaigner Akhand, the commission has ordered the secretary of the health ministry to file a report within eight weeks.

“You are required to submit the requisite information report within eight weeks,” said the commission in its notice to the ministry, which IANS has seen.

The petitioner alleged that many traders continue to use calcium carbide to ripen fruit such as mangoes, bananas, oranges and watermelons despite a ban by the government.

In India, use of calcium carbide is strictly banned under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act because it contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus, which pose a serious threat to human health, the petitioner told IANS.

However, many traders are using it to ripen the fruit. The petitioner alleged the authorities are not taking any action against the guilty.