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Ludhiana

Posted at: May 19, 2015, 1:09 AM; last updated: May 19, 2015, 12:43 AM (IST)

Needle found in musk melon

How harmful are artificially ripened fruits

  • The colours used in artificial ripening of fruits and vegetables include sudan red, methanol yellow and lead chromate.
  • Carbide which is used to ripen the fruit is harmful for liver and kidney while methanol yellow can cause cancer, stomach ailments and degeneration of the male reproductive organs.
  • Lead chromate can causes anaemia, brain damage and blindness.
  • Sudan red is also harmful for stomach and digestion.

Awareness is the key

  • People must go for seasonal fruits and vegetables.
  • Wash fruits thoroughly before consuming.
  • Always cut the fruit into pieces.
Needle found in musk melon

Darshan Kaur, mother of Gurpreet Singh, shows the musk melon with a needle. A Tribune photo

Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18

City resident Gurpreet Singh was taken aback when he found a needle in his mouth while eating his favourite musk melon.

His father Davinder Singh said he had filed a complaint with the health authorities, but had no idea if they had taken any action.

It is learnt that sweeteners and colours are injected into fruits to make them look more palatable and attractive. Retailers don’t think even once before using chemicals and ripening agents.

Unscrupulous methods are used to ripen fruits artificially. These include reactions with calcium carbide and other chemicals to make the fruit look attractive.

Vendors injecting red dye into water melons to these a bright red shade and inject artificial sweeteners into musk melon to make them sweet. The colours and sweeteners are toxic and may cause deadly diseases.

“Everyone is tempted towards bright coloured and juicy fruits being sold in markets by roadside vendors. But beware of extra bright colour and shine you see in these fruits. Most of the watermelons being sold in the market are red and juicy.

“This implies that most of the melons being sold in markets nowadays are ripen by artificial methods,” said a retired official of the Health Department.

He added that the pernicious practice of using harmful colours in foods to simply make food look attractive was not restricted to watermelons and musk melons alone. Even vegetables were not spared, he said. “Ladyfinger, pumpkin and brinjal too also adulterated,” he said.

District Health Officer Dr Abnash Kumar said he learnt about the incident. “I am not in the city. I will collect the fruit sample tomorrow. We will also take samples from different parts of the city ,” he said.

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