The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has advised the Nigerian public to shun consumption of fruits ripened with calcium carbide.
The agency gave the warning on Monday in Abuja in a statement signed by its management, stressing that dangerous side effects of carbide-ripened fruits include cancer and other illnesses. According to the management, consuming such fruits can also cause heart, kidney and liver failure.
“NAFDAC hereby warns farmers and the general public against the dangers of using calcium carbide for ripening fruits such as banana, mango, plantain, orange and cashew,” the management said.
On how to identify carbide-ripened fruits, the management said that “naturally ripened fruits usually have brown or black spots while those artificially ripened have traces of powdery substances and peel off quickly.”
The agency further warned that “ripening fruits and vegetables with calcium carbide is a criminal offence,” adding that henceforth, perpetrators would be prosecuted. It advised the public to “report suspected cases to the nearest NAFDAC office or call 09094262773, 09094262772 and 08133630600.” The agency reiterated its commitment to safeguarding the health of Nigerians.
NAFDAC, established in 1993, is mandated to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, chemicals, detergents, medical devices and packaged water.