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raid:Corporation Commissioner N. Subbaiyan inspecting the seized mangoes in Tirunelveli on Thursday. —
TIRUNELVELI: Corporation personnel on Thursday seized Rs. 3 lakh-worth 10 tonnes of mangoes, all ripened artificially by calcium carbide, a carcinogenic chemical agent.
Following complaints from the public on the use of calcium carbide to ripen the ‘King of Fruits', Commissioner N. Subbaiyan formed seven special teams on Wednesday night to carry out surprise checks in the fruit godowns in Tirunelveli Junction. The teams, led by City Health Officer (In-charge) T. Shanthi, started the raid in seven fruit godowns around 7.30 a.m. on Thursday since the retail fruit sellers used to complete their purchase from the wholesale traders before 8.30 a.m. everyday.
During the check conducted at Kannamman Temple Street and Perumal North Car Street, the inspecting teams found that calcium carbide, packed either in plastic bags or newspapers, had been kept in the middle of the mound of mangoes to ripen the fruits quickly.
Even as the drive was going on, a truck-load of mangoes that reached here from Tenkasi was also found to be ripened by calcium carbide was also seized.
Dr. Subbaiyan, who visited the spot, instructed his subordinates to destroy the entire quantity of seized mangoes by sprinkling germicides on it and then bury it in the Ramaiyanpatti garbage dumping yard.
Food Inspectors A.R. Sankaralingam and Kaliyanandi, Sanitary Inspectors Arasakumar and Shahul Hameed, participated in the surprise check.
Drive to continue
“If the consumers suspect that the mango had been ripened by calcium carbide, the fruit should be refrigerated or kept in water for about 24 hours so that the harmful effects of the chemical will be minimized,” suggested Mr. Sankaralingam, adding that the corporation's drive against the ripening of fruits using chemicals will continue.
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