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Calcium carbide-ripened fruits linked to cancer, kidney failure, says NAFDAC

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Calcium carbide-ripened fruits linked to cancer, kidney failure, says NAFDAC

Story from Vivian DANIEL, Abuja

The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, has raised concerns about the health risks associated with consuming fruits ripened with calcium carbide.

Speaking at NAFDAC’s media sensitization workshop on the dangers of drug hawking and the use of calcium carbide for fruit ripening, Prof. Adeyeye emphasized the potential dangers and outlined the various health conditions that may result from such consumption.

“Fruits ripened with calcium carbide may cause cancer, heart failure, kidney failure, and liver failure,” warned Prof. Adeyeye.

She further explained that these fruits can lead to symptoms like frequent thirst, irritation in the mouth and nose, weakness, permanent skin damage, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting, and skin ulcers.

Acknowledging the magnitude of the issue, Prof. Adeyeye stated, “The ripening of fruits with carbide is dangerous to health and is a major challenge for all.”

She assured the workshop participants that NAFDAC has implemented a comprehensive strategy to address this problem.

Prof. Adeyeye underscored the nutritional importance of fruits, as they provide the body with micronutrients that enhance immunity and prevent diseases.

However, she cautioned against consuming fruits such as mangoes, bananas, plantains, guavas, oranges, grapes, and others that have been ripened artificially using calcium carbide.

To help consumers identify artificially ripened fruits, she offered a practical tip: “You can identify such artificially ripened fruits if you notice that the fruits are all yellow whereas the stem is dark, this is true, especially with bananas and plantains. In addition, naturally ripened fruits usually have brown or black spots, while those artificially ripened have traces of powdery substances and peel off quickly.”

Moreover, Prof. Adeyeye highlighted that the artificial ripening process adversely affects the quality of fruits, resulting in the loss of desirable characteristics such as colour, taste, and texture. Artificially ripened fruits also lack the natural aroma and flavour found in their naturally ripened counterparts.

Addressing public concerns, Prof. Adeyeye reassured them that NAFDAC is taking the issue seriously and has commissioned a scientific study to develop the most effective approach for mitigating the health hazards associated with fruit ripening using calcium carbides.

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