By Halima Idris
The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye has advised Nigerians not to consume fruits ripened with calcium carbide, saying they may cause cancer, liver, kidney and heart failure.
Adeyeye added that fruits ripened with calcium carbide may also cause regular thirst, skin ulcer, skin damage, irritation in the mouth and nose, difficulty in swallowing and vomiting.
The NAFDAC helmswoman stated this on Tuesday during the official flag-off of the agency’s media sensitisation workshop on the dangers of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide.
Speaking further, she noted that the habit of ripening fruits with carbide had become a public challenge and that NAFDAC had employed various strategies to confront the threat.
“Fruits are good for the body as they provide micronutrients that improve immunity and prevent diseases. Fruit ripening is an exclusive aspect of plant development, which makes the fruit softer, sweeter, more palatable, nutritious and attractive.
“Nevertheless, the consumption of fruits like orange, mango, guava, banana, plantain, grape, etc. ripened with calcium carbide is dangerous to our health.
“Fruits artificially ripened with calcium carbide may be ripe on the skin but the inside remains unripe. Artificially-ripened fruits can be identified if you notice that the fruits are all yellow whereas the stem is dark, this is common with banana and plantain,” Adeyeye said.
Adeyeye explained that fruits that got ripened naturally usually have brown or black spots, while those artificially ripened have traces of powdery substances and peel off quickly.
She stated that NAFDAC has approved a scientific study on the best method of alleviating the health hazards caused by ripening of fruits with calcium carbide.