Eating fruits keeps the doctors away, but recent research shows that might not be true in major towns of Kenya.
Fruit and vegetable suppliers and vendors who are driven by greed to bank your coins so fast have been pushed to employ use of Calcium Carbide, which is health hazard to human body.
When Calcium Carbide comes to contact with moisture, it reacts to give acetylene which has ethylene responsible for ripening of fruits.
Ethylene is naturally produced by mature fruits, but in low volumes which makes the natural process to take a very long time to ripen.
Using calcium carbide increases the rate of ethylene production hence quick ripening, but it comes with a risk to consumers.
Calcium Carbide produces also other chemicals, arsenic and phosphorous. These are the life threatening components in fruits produced in this method.
Cyanide which is used in making of fertilizers and welding, is a major use of calcium carbide on industrial level.
Health risks of these fruits and vegetables
- Mouth ulcers,
- Gastric problems,
- Diarrhoea and skin rashes
- Heart disease,
- Arthritis and perhaps allergies
- Miscarriages and developmental abnormalities if the child is born
According to a report originally published in the Star, samples taken from 3 leading supermarkets and groceries in Nairobi and Mombasa tested positive for calcium carbide. Wholesale traders in big fruit markets in Nairobi’s Gikomba and Marikiti and Kongowea in Mombasa are also using the chemical.
How to detect fruits and veggies ripened under the harmful process
- After you have bought the fruits, place one of them in a bucket of water, if it does sink, the fruit is okay. But if it floats then it is health hazard. It means it was harvested before maturity.
- Another quick method is to look for uniform in terms of ripening. Those ripened by chemicals contain green patches showing areas which were not reached out with the dangerous gas.
- Eating the fruit itself can also reveal the kind of ripening method used. Calcium carbide fruits taste bitter or not natural despite the fact that they look ripened.
By Simon Ingari