Tuesday, 3 August, 2021

Pokhara shopkeepers found using banned chemicals to ripen banana


By Our Correspondent, Kaski, June 12: A shop of the agricultural market at Prithvi Chowk in Pokhara has been found using banned chemicals to ripen banana and other fruit.

Bhurtel Fruit Centre of the shop no. 69 of the Agricultural Market was found using illegal chemicals.

Narayan Acharya, director at the Consumer Right Protection Directorate, Gandaki, said that a spray containing illegal chemicals was found during monitoring conducted after receiving complaints that chemicals were being used in bananas and mangoes.

During the monitoring, a spray with the illegal medicine was found, and when a sample of the medicine was sent to a lab for a test, it proved to be poisonous, Acharya said.

“We have sent the chemicals to test as to how harmful it is to human health.”He informed that purchase and sale bills were also not found in the Fruit Centre and three other shops, which were also not renewed.

"All the four shops have been given written instructions asking them to visit the directorate with the documents. They have also been barred from operating business without making improvement," he said. If found guilty, action will be taken against them, Acharya said.

Chairman of the Consumer Right Protection Forum Gandaki Kapil Nath Koirala said that after he received a photo of a man spraying raw bananas in his messenger, he sent a team for monitoring the fruit center. “The photo was taken by a journalist at Bhurtel Fruit Center, shop no 69 of Prithvi Chowk Agricultural Market and sent to me,” Koirala said.

The team comprising the director of the Consumer Rights Protection Directorate, Gandaki Narayan Acharya, Shivaji Baral of Food Technology and Quality Control Office, and representatives from the District Police Office and District Administration monitored the shops.

According to Koirala, calcium carbide was added to the spray. Calcium carbide is used to ripen fruits. "During the monitoring, other weaknesses have also been revealed, such as not renovating the shop for eight years, not coming under the tax net, and selling goods at an exorbitantly high price with 100 times profit margin," he said.

Food Regulations 2027 prohibits the use of contaminated chemicals, including carbide in Nepal. According to Shivaji Baral, chief of the Food Technology and Quality Control Office, carbide should not be used too much.

He, however, said that they needed final report from the lab whether the used chemical was calcium carbide.Frequent and regular use of calcium carbide increases the risk of cancer, he added.

"Regular consumption of food containing calcium carbide for a long time can cause vomiting, dizziness, accumulation of calcium residue in the soft parts of the body and even cancer,” said Baral. He said that monitoring should be intensified as the use of harmful chemicals could affect human health.