Grace Olasumbo, a nutritionist, has advised Nigerians to be wary of fruits and vegetables that do not have uniform colours, especially when they appear with yellow and green patches.
Olasumbo gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja against backdrop of the federal government’s concern over the dangers in using carbide and other chemical substances to forcefully ripen fruits and vegetables.
She noted that fruits and vegetables that appear in such manner were an indication of artificial ripening, which is most prevalent at the beginning of a fruit season.
The nutritionist added that calcium carbide remained the most commonly used chemical for ripening these fruits.
She said that application of this chemical always put the fruits under severe pressure to become ripe prematurely.
“This is the same chemical that is used to manufacture fire-crackers; they are also used as pesticides.
“They contain phosphorous and releases acetylene gas, which hastens the ripening of fruits.
“When an individual takes in such poisonous substance, the chemical components would cause a fatal reaction which could affect the liver, kidney and throat.
“Intake of calcium carbide has also been found to be the leading cause of various health conditions such as diarrhoea, severe gastrointestinal upset, eye problems, ulcers and emotional trauma.
“Others are restlessness, seizures, tremors, irritation of the skin, mouth, throat, liver and cancer,” she said.
Ms Olasumbo added that careful physical examination of the fruits before buying would save Nigerians from having these diseases.
She advised that people should pick their fruits wisely at the stores or markets.
“Fruits such as bananas, mangoes, apples, watermelons, orange, peers, among others, should be properly checked.
“Most times, the colour of the fruits will not be uniform; it may have yellow and green patches unlike when it naturally ripens.
“The texture will also be hard even when it appears yellow.
“The fruits will also be low on flavour, less juicy and often will not be as sweet as they should,” she added.
The nutritionist advised Nigerians to ensure adequate washing of fruits and vegetables before consumption and once the taste is odd, they should discontinue its intake.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Association of Fruits Sellers, Kano State Chapter, has appealed to members across the country to fear God and stop artificial ripening of fruits and related commodities because of its inherent health dangers.
The Public Relations Officer II of the association at Yan’lemu Market, Ado Shehu, made the call in an interview with NAN in Kano on Sunday.
“I am using this opportunity to call on our members nationwide to have the fear of Allah in mind so that they will not cause any harm to consumers as carbide is dangerous to human health,’’ he said.