Painstaking Investigation by Daily Guide have revealed that death is being sold at our markets nowadays under the guise of selling fruits. There is the need for consumers to be extra vigilant.

It is uncovered that most people who love bananas and eat a lot of them are at risk as the fruits available on the market these days are forced to ripen by dipping them in water mixed with a dangerous chemical called carbide.

The consumption of these bananas is 100% sure to cause cancer or some other stomach infection and should be avoided totally.

Calcium carbide has cancer-causing properties and is capable of causing neurological disorders according to health experts.

It can result in tingling sensations, numbness and peripheral neuropathy.

Another worrying aspect according to our health experts is that if pregnant women consume fruit ripened with carbide, the children born to them could develop abnormalities

The use of calcium carbide is not only toxic to consumers, it may also be harmful to those who handle it.

It affects the neurological system, resulting in headaches, dizziness, mood disturbances, sleepiness, mental confusion and seizures on a short-term basis while in the long-term, it can cause memory loss and cerebral oedema.

The use of carbide gas from calcium carbide to ripen fruits is extremely hazardous to the human body as it also contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus.

The practice of ripening fruits using carbide is banned in many other countries but it is freely used in the three regions of Northern Ghana, regarded the poorest in the country.

This negative practice has been blamed on the high demand for bananas among residents compelling vendors to forcefully ripen them using these harmful chemicals.

Officials with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture commenting on the matter called on consumers to be wary of the fruits they consume observing how some of them could be injurious to their health.

They said bananas which are ripened naturally are dark yellow; there are small black spots around the bananas and the stalks are black. Those which are forced to ripen with carbide are often lemon yellow and their stalks green. Moreover the fruit itself is a clear yellow without any black spots.

The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) has explained that carbide is a chemical that emits heat when mixed with water.

They explained that when bananas are dipped in water mixed with carbide, the gas gets absorbed into the fruits causing them to ripen within the shortest possible time.

According to a farmer, he uses about 200 grams of calcium carbide to ripen 30 kilograms of mangoes.

The chemical is wrapped in newspaper and placed in an enclosed box filled with the mangoes. Locally, the sellers purchase the carbide from the gas welders shop.

Further investigations reveal the sellers buy cheap immature bananas from damaged trees and then place them in a box together with some carbide blocks which induces them to ripen within 24 hours.

In natural conditions, fruits get ripened by the action of a ripening hormone in the fruit which produces ethylene naturally.

When calcium carbide is used for artificial ripening, a chemical reaction takes place because of the moisture content in the fruit.

Heat and acetylene gas are produced and the ripening process is hastened.

During natural ripening, a wide spectrum of biochemical changes take place such as chlorophyll degradation, biosynthesis of carotenoids (antioxidant, immune system booster, anti-cancer agent), anthocyanins (powerful antioxidants), essential oils, and flavour and aroma components. But all these healthy chemical changes which enhance the quality of the fruit are lost with genetically motivated/artificial ripening.

Besides being toxic, artificially-ripened fruits are said to be less nutritious and their health implications very serious. Due to excess use of carbide, tumors can form in our digestive system.

Meanwhile officials of the FDB in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have promised to clamp down on the activities of forced fruit ripening within the three Northern regions.

Source Daily Guide Ghana


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