Artificially ripening of fruits akin to poisoning – now a criminal offence
news Friday, April 17, 2015 - 05:30
The usage of calcium carbide to artificially ripen fruits is already banned, although without stringent action against defaulters. The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has now decided to strictly enforce Section 328 of the IPC that will be applicable against all those who are found using calcium carbide to ripen their fruits faster so they can be sold on the markets, reported Pune Mirror. Traders are likely to indulge in this practice as the demand for the fruits continues to be on the rise. This decision was made taking into account the different weather conditions over the last few months. There will be no bail applicable to offenders. The usage of calcium carbide to artificially ripen fruits is already banned, traders found guilty of it in the past have been likely to get bail and hence escape legal proceedings. According to Indian law, using calcium carbide to artificially ripen any fruit is banned under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) 2006 and the Food Safety and Standards Regulations Act of 2011 (FSSR). So in a stringent move, such attempts have been denoted as an offence under Section 328 (causing hurt by means of poison etc., with intent to commit an offence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Fresh orders were issued on Monday to all state FDA units in order to bring this into force immediately. A diktat has also been issued by the state to implement this new addition in the concerned law at the earliest possible date or immediately. When this law comes into force, the use of calcium carbide or similar chemicals to artificially ripen fruits will be viewed as a crime- an attempt to destroy the life of or impair the health of others by use of poison. When this IPC section is applied practically, offenders will be unable to get bail from the court after arrest and if their guilt is proven by process of prosecution in a special court, the accused may face rigorous imprisonment for a period of up to ten years. Many traders have been found using this chemical to ripen fast moving fruits such as mangoes, bananas and papayas so that they are available in the market before the season for these fruits starts. According to the report, a FDA official who chose to remain anonymous said that consuming such ripened fruits may cause headaches and dizziness and might even lead to cancer and heart diseases.