KASARAGOD: Food safety officials here have seized 90 boxes of mangoes ripened artificially using calcium carbide, a chemical hazardous to humans. On a tip off, a team led by Kasaragod Circle Food Safety Officer P K Pradeep Kumar searched the house of P M Junaid at Paika in Mulleria village and seized 90 boxes, each weighing 20 kg. The seized stock was destroyed. The team found that calcium carbide was placed in pouches in each box. Calcium carbide used to artificially ripen fruits generates acetylene gas, a carcinogen, the officials said.
The raid comes at a time when the authorities have started efforts to make Chengala panchayat, where Paika is located, as a food safety zone. The trader said the mango stock was brought from Theni in Tamil Nadu. The food safety officials conduct regular checks to identify artificially ripened fruits.