Fruit sellers have been urged by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to desist from using calcium carbide to ripen fruits for commercial purpose.
The NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the warning in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, saying that “using carbide to ripen fruits is dangerous for human health.”
Calcium carbide is a toxic and highly dangerous, corrosive chemical used industrially in the production of acetylene gas, which burns and produces light.
It has the potential to cause cancer and contain traces of phosphorous hydride and arsenic and when in contact with moist skin and mucous membrane, it can lead to ulceration.
According to the NAFDAC boss, the warning became necessary following recent visit by the agency’s inspectors to fruits and vegetable market in Mubi, Adamawa.
She said that the agency would apply severe sanctions on anyone found using carbide for fruit ripening.
She added that “our inspectors met with executive members of the Fruits Sellers’ Association and educated them on the dangers associated with the use of calcium carbide for ripening of fruits.
“Our inspectors also conducted ‘shop to shop’ awareness with a view to enlighten the shop owners on health hazards and risks of consuming calcium carbide.
“Traders were warned against using calcium carbide for ripening of fruits and also informed them that NAFDAC will sanction anyone found wanting.”