Govt bans sale of ‘off-season’ fruits due to health hazards

Govt bans sale of ‘off-season’ fruits due to health hazards
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Fruit association asks sellers to stop use of ripening agents

Srinagar: State government has banned the sale of all off-season fruits especially mangoes and watermelon following growing complaints about their sale in putrefied and rotten condition.
The ban order has been issued by Additional Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, Abdul Satar following the complaints that a huge quantity of ‘off-season’ fruits are being sold in the open market in decayed form and to attract customers, the dealers have decreased the rates also.
As per officials, the decision was taken in a meeting held on Tuesday with food safety officials and fruits dealers.
“In last three days nearly 20 quintals of mangoes and watermelons which were unfit for human consumption were destroyed by a team of food safety officers headed by Assistant Commissioner, Srinagar,” officials told Kashmir Reader.
They said the meeting also deliberated on the issues of the sale of putrefied and rotten fruits especially mangoes and watermelon in the markets of Kashmir Valley as having been highlighted in social media and print media and artificial ripening of fruits and various decisions were taken.
As per an official communication, it was decided that no putrefied and rotten fruits shall be supplied to the market or procured from suppliers; during transportation if the fruits get putrefied, the same shall be destroyed scientifically; the Fruit Mandi Association should ensure not to allow the sale of out of season fruits like watermelon in packed form, so that option remains before the consumer to check the quality of the fruits before he purchases the same.
“The provisions of Food Safety Act like date of packing, shelf life, expired and manufacturing dates should be mentioned on the packed fruit if it is sold in the packed form,” it said.
“The fruits shall only be ripened by virtue of scientific process in automatic chambers as is allowed under Food Safety and Standards Act and no wholesale dealer/ fruit supplier shall open the fruit by virtue of harmful carcinogenic chemicals like calcium carbide/ ethylene sachets,” said the statement adding that the Association of Kashmir Fruit Dealers shall ensure that only good quality fruits are supplied in the market and the Department shall keep a strict watch over the fruit shops/retailers and street vendors as well.
“In the Assistant Commissioner, Food Safety and the Food Safety Officers were asked to Intensify their vigil in the market so that consumers get sale and quality fruits. They will ensure an awareness program be organised in the premises of Parimpora Fruit Mandi in order to inform people and dealers about the standards of food safety,” it said.
Meanwhile, New Kashmir Fruits Association issued a circular asking its members to ensure that no ripening agent should be used by them and no ‘low grade’ fruit should be sold in the market.
“The Association wouldn’t be responsible if any of its members are caught supplying rotten and artificially ripened fruits. So, everyone should destroy any such fruits and desist from such practice to save themselves from huge fine and imprisonment,” General Secretary of the Association said in the circular.