After banning the use of carbide stones in artificially ripening mangoes, the food safety and drug administration department is now focussing on using ethylene powder to ripen the fruit.
The department has also prepared a standard operating procedure for the traders to use the powder for ripening. While natural ripening is the undisputed method, several factors such as the time (It will take more than one week for a raw to turn fruit naturally) affecting the farmers and traders prompt the enforcing department to find out new ways to help them ripen mangoes quickly and reduce the financial loss.
It also wants to stop the traders from using carbide stone, which produces harmful acetylene to induce the ripening process. Till last year, the food safety and drug administration department had been pressing for using ethylene gas to ripen the mangoes. But the traders had violated the producers to be followed.
They covered mangos with ethylene sprayed sheets, which turned the fruit harmful. Hence, the food and safety officials have devised a new method this year with the help of the agriculture department that a sachet of ethephom can be used for ripening without any direct contact with the fruit. The sachet dipped in water should be kept near mangoes for 24 hours for the raw mangoes to turn fruit.
Food safety & drug administration has taken initiative to persuade the traders in Chennai to try the new method. “We educated the traders in the capital to take it up recently. Many of them are following the procedure,” said designated officer of Chennai Dr A Ramakrishnan. Food safety department in Trichy organised an awareness meeting a week ago for the mango traders and sensitized them to go for natural ripening in the first place. The traders were also asked to take up the ethephom sachet technique to ripen the mangoes through ethylene gas.