A total of five tonnes of artificially ripened fruits including a tonne of mangoes were seized from the Koyambedu fruit market and destroyed on Sunday.
A team of officials belonging to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) along with a posse of police conducted raids through Saturday night and Sunday early morning to seize 3.25 tonnes of sapotta and 750 kg of banana.
A total of 136 shops were inspected and 24 were found to be using chemicals to ripen the fruits artificially. The seized fruits, worth ₹2.5 lakh, were disposed at the Koyambedu bio-methanisation plant, sources said.
Based on a tip-off
The raids were conducted based on a tip-off that fruits were being ripened on trucks that were bringing them to the market. “Though we could not catch any truck, we did find the fruits in the shops. A week ago, we conducted an awareness programme about the health risks of artificially ripened fruits,” an official said.
Under the Food Safety Act 2006 and Regulations 2011, the sale of fruits artificially ripened using acetylene gas, commonly known as carbide gas, is prohibited.
The sapottas and mangoes were ripened using carbide gas emitted by calcium carbide stones.
According to the officials, the bananas were doused in ethylene gas to ripen them.