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Sunday, August 18, 2013

artificial ripening - bad in mangoes - good in bananas

Most fruits taste sweet as they are ripe… ripening is a natural  process in fruits that causes them to become more palatable.

Summer is the season for mangoes  ~ and in summer  when thre was increased demand for the tasty fruit,  health officials were busy seizing artificially ripened mangoes. The implications of using the cancer-causing calcium carbide to ripen the mangoes are many. But warnings and raids hardly deterred  the traders form ripening ‘the king’ artificially, with most saying that they have no other way to run their business. Some would even argue that this is the way trade had been doing for decades… and that it is far too difficult to transport ripe mangoes from distant places.  So the  farmers send only green mangoes and  they are later ripened artificially.  

It is stated that the mangoes never even come in contact with the calcium carbide.  The  calcium carbide stones are put in a paper cover; stapled, these  packets are then kept under the unripe mangoes.  Calcium carbide is a chemical compound with the chemical formula of Ca C2. Its main use industrially is in the production ofacetylene and calcium cyanamide. The pure material is colourless, however pieces of technical-grade calcium carbide are grey or brown.  The  smell of technical-grade calcium carbide is part of the process or production and is produced intentionally to be unpleasant in larger concentrations, and noticeable in smaller ones, as a part of warning system for unwanted leaks, fires or explosion.

Bananas are the most common, most selling fruits in any market – they possess many good qualities, tasty, good for health and more.. there are very many varieties like – Peyan, Poovan, Robusta, Dwarf Cavendish, Grand Naine, Rasthali, Vayal vazhai, Nendran, Red Banana, Karpooravalli and more. The popular varieties of bananas suitable for hilly areas are Virupakshi, Sirumalai and Namarai. Red Banana, Manoranjitham (Santhana vazhai) and Ladan are also cultivated in hills. Many varieties of Kathali, a small sized tasty fruit is cultivated in Kerala.  

In most varieties – the green one is before they are ripe – can be eaten but may not taste sweet as a fruit…. Not in bananas.  Green banana is also a fruit, a tasty one at that. It is - Morris or Robusta – the banana that retains its green color even after ripening, it comes from a dwarf variety of banana plants, cultivated throughout Kerala. Not many know that Morris, is artificially ripened, but in a safe way.

Just as you read that mangoes are artificially ripened and not good for health, ripened Morris is considered good as it is done through the technology developed by the Trichy-based National Research Centre for Banana in 2006 and is a rage among banana growers.  According to its director,  “Bananas naturally emit ethylene gas as they ripen. The artificial ripening process involves storing the raw fruit at a temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius and exposing it to ethylene gas. The ethylene naturally present in the fruit is activated and the ripening process is quickened,” he said. The bananas thus ripened are sold in retail markets.

In a bid to allay apprehension, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had, in the year 2010, clarified that the use of ethylene gas to ripen the fruit was safe. This was decided in consultation with the ministry of agriculture. The banana variety, which is sold for about Rs.5 a piece, is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium phosphorus and iron and is also a source of Vitamin A and C. It is stated that farmers from all over the state, who cultivate the green banana, adopt this technology as the demand in Chennai is more for this variety. 

What is true of one need not be true of the  all other is the moral

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Aug 2013.

Source acknowledgment for banana ripening  : Times of India

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