Concerns Mount Over Use of Calcium Carbide for Fruit Ripening

In a bid to ripen perishable food items, many have resorted to the use of chemicals in fastening the ripening process of these food items, exposing themselves to health hazards in the process.

Calcium Carbide is a commonly used chemical to fasten the fruit ripening process; albeit at the risk of health hazards.

Many fruits such as watermelon, mango, orange are common in almost all parts of the country, with Northern Nigeria taking the lead in watermelon farming.

Aliyu Muhammad is a regular consumer of orange, watermelon and mango, his family once had a severe stomach ache that was preceded with Diarrhea .

He stopped taking these fruits in order to save himself and the family from similar experiences.

According to him, his family suffered severe stomach disorder, which he later discovered that it was from the watermelon he bought which was a product of chemical process.

“I make these fruits to be part of my daily consumables.Before now, I hardly go to bed without taking either orange or watermelon. In fact, even the youngest of my children has become addicted to watermelon. Mango is seasonal but nowadays you can see it everywhere in the market. I had a terrible experience that make me stop taking all these fruits until am sure they are naturally ripe”.

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“It all happened one two weeks ago. I bought watermelon and orange for my family that evening, not knowing that I was going to poison my loved ones. We all took the fruits with amusement”.

Narrating further, he explained how his family suffered pain after taking the fruits.

“My stomach started paining me, then my wife too started complaining. Before I know what is happening my son was in the toilet pooing. We couldn’t sleep that night. Thank God I have a friend who is a nurse and he gave us first aid. In the morning when I regain consciousness, I check on the fruits I brought and behold, they are swollen at the back”.

“Honestly, using chemicals such as carbide to make fruits ripe is harmful. My family and myself witnessed it. The government need to step in and make the people aware of the dangers involved in it. The people are in a hurry to have the fruits ripe and sale them. To them is a means of getting money but to us they are exposing us to danger”, said Aliyu.

For Adamu Muhammed, he has for long stopped taking fruits due to influx of chemically ripen fruits which he believed are harmful to the health of its consumer.

“I have for long stopped buying fruits in the market. They are using carbide to make them ripe and I fear that this may have effect in my health. I only take fruits that I flock from the tree. Some of the sellers are not aware that they are chemically ripe, because they only buy them from the vendors”, said Adamu.

Check by WikkiTimes showed that while majority of the people buying and consuming these fruits, many are not aware of the health implication of using chemicals to make fruits ripe, nor did they have knowledge on how to properly use the chemicals.

Pharmacist Sulaiman Yunusa Goji of Bauchi State University) Gadau told WikkiTimes that using calcium carbide to get fruits ripened expose people to emerging ailments which are life threatening.

He said when fruits such as mangoes are exposed to calcium carbide, it releases acetylene gas when it come in to contact with moisture, noting that as the mangoes ripen quickly, it may expose people to health risks such as skin irritation, respiratory problems and gastrointestinal issues among others.  

According to him, it is high time people stop using calcium carbide saying “I don’t advise people to use calcium carbide to get fruit ripened”.

“When fruits such as mangoes etc are exposed to calcium carbide, it releases acetylene gas when it comes into contact with moisture. This can cause the mangoes to ripen quickly, but it can also lead to serious health risks for people such as skin irritation, respiratory problems, and gastrointestinal issues if ingested”.

Sharing same view with Goji, Mukhtar Sale (S Daji), a seasoned nursing officer and CEO of Al-Mukhtar Clinic Misau opined that as people begins to fear consuming mango and banana due to fear of carbide, orange and watermelon farmers have started using carbide to make the fruits ripen, expressing fear that the rate of cancer patients may increase.

According to him, they now resort using carbide to make green orange to turn yellow, watermelon to be reddish while exposing the innocent people to health hazards associated to over consumption of calcium carbide.

 “Studies have shown that consuming carbide ripe products can lead to cancer, kidney disease and other ailments. There is the need to sensitize the people on the dangers associated with the use of carbide to ripe fruits and how best to handle it. 

“The government need to step on its toes and do the needful. It is supposed to dealt decisively with anyone that violate such policies. People have begun to desert consuming fruits despite their significance to human body,” said Mukhtar.

When contacted, National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the federal government agency responsible for regulating food and drug consumption, did not reply WikkiTimes inquiry on its official X handle.

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