Agriculture World

Beware! You Could be Imprisoned for Using Chemicals to Ripen Fruits & Vegetables

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo
fruits

People who use pesticides and chemicals to ripen fruits or vegetables need to be careful now. The High Court observed that using chemicals and pesticides to ripen fruits amounts to poisoning the customers adding that invoking penal provisions against the perpetrators would have a deterrent effect. 

A bench of Justices AJ Bhambani and GS Sistani while hearing a PIL initiated by the Delhi High court to monitor use of pesticides on vegetables and fruits said, “Using chemicals such as calcium carbide to ripen mangoes is like poisoning someone. Why should the Indian Penal Code be not invoked against them? Send such people to jail, even if for two days and it would have a deterrent effect”. 

The bench asked FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) if calcium carbide was still being used to ripen fruits like mangoes & sought the presence of its Chief Executive Officer to help it on the next date of hearing. 

The court also asked the Agriculture Ministry as to whether any kit was available for customers to themselves test for calcium carbide in their house. On this, the agri ministry said no such kit was available as the presence of calcium carbide can be tested only in laboratories with proper equipments & additional chemicals. 

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Delhi government that was represented by its additional standing counsel Naushad Ahmed Khan said the court that it has been collecting samples from markets in the city for testing and also conducting awareness drives. It told the court that few samples were tested & no chemicals were found while the results of other samples were awaited. 

Besides the PIL initiated by the court on its own, it is also hearing 2 other appeals by private individuals seeking directions to the authorities to curtail the use of pesticides & other chemicals on food products, especially agricultural produce, coming into the city. 

A report filed by Rajul Jain (amicus curiae) earlier said that due to excessive use of chemicals in vegetables and fruits “several countries have banned the import of Indian vegetables & fruits and many more were under inspection.” 

The Delhi high court had initiated the matter on its own after an NGO had found that fruits and vegetables sold in city markets contained poisons capable of causing cancer & harming the nervous system & liver. 

In the past, the court had suggested various measures to curb adulteration of eatables, especially vegetables and fruits, like large-scale testing & sending back contaminated food products to farmers or manufacturers. 

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