Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

  • 20 May 2024

In May, 2024, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a directive, urging traders and food business operators to refrain from using the banned substance 'calcium carbide' for ripening fruits.

  • This advisory comes amidst concerns over the health risks associated with the use of calcium carbide and emphasizes the importance of compliance with food safety regulations.
  • The use of calcium carbide for fruit ripening poses serious health risks, including exposure to harmful substances like arsenic and phosphorus, which can lead to various health issues.
  • The regulator emphasizes that the ban on calcium carbide for fruit ripening is explicitly stated in the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011.
  • In response to the ban, FSSAI has approved ethylene gas as a safer alternative for fruit ripening, with permissible concentrations up to 100 ppm, depending on the crop and maturity.
  • Ethylene gas, a naturally occurring hormone in fruits, initiates and controls the ripening process without posing health hazards associated with calcium carbide.
  • The approval of Ethephon 39 per cent SL by the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIB & RC) further supports the use of safe alternatives for uniform fruit ripening.