The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has declared that food business operators can use ethephon as a source of ethylene gas for artificial ripening of fruits. The country’s apex food regulator has also issued a detailed guidance note for traders on artificial ripening of fruits. As per the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, artificial ripening by acetylene gas (known as carbide) is prohibited under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011, as it contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus, which are harmful for humans and banned in India. According to FSSAI, most of the small-scale vendors in India use calcium carbide and should be encouraged to use ethephon/ ethrel for ripening of fruits, because these small vendors do not have access to commercial ripening facilities like ethylene-based ripening chambers owned by big traders or companies. Also, thorough care has to be taken to select the proper stage of fruit for artificial ripening process.
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