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RIPE FOR CONCERN | Artificially ripened fruits in markets spark health concerns

Assistant Commissioner, Food Safety Srinagar, Yamin-ul-Nabi told Greater Kashmir that the department launched comprehensive testing measures across various areas of Srinagar.
01:43 AM Mar 15, 2024 IST | Rabiya Bashir
ripe for concern   artificially ripened fruits in markets spark health concerns
Representational Image/ peakpx (Creative Commons)
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Srinagar, Mar 14:  Alarmed by health warnings regarding artificially ripened fruits, particularly watermelons, authorities in Kashmir have intensified efforts to ensure the safety of produce available in the market.

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A few days ago, health experts cautioned people against consuming early-ripened fruits, citing potential adverse health effects associated with artificially ripened produce.

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The news of adulterated off-season fruits, particularly watermelon, has sparked concerns among the public, leading to discussions on various social media platforms.

Assistant Commissioner, Food Safety Srinagar, Yamin-ul-Nabi told Greater Kashmir that the department launched comprehensive testing measures across various areas of Srinagar.

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Since Monday, 10 samples, with a particular focus on watermelon, have been collected for analytical purposes.

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“We have sent all samples of watermelon to the food testing laboratory for analytical purposes, and there is no need to panic, as the department is closely monitoring the situation," he said.

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Yamin said that inspections and sample collections had been conducted in key areas including Parimpora Fruit Mandi, Qamarwari, Noorbagh, Safa Kadal, Nowhatta, Khanyar, and Bohri Kadal.

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To educate consumers on distinguishing between naturally grown and artificially ripened watermelons, he said that people should check for a yellow stain on one side, typically indicative of naturally grown fruits.

He also advised using cotton to rub the inside of watermelons, a method believed to help identify artificially ripened ones.

Additionally, the Food Department is also checking the quality of the dates.

This involves inspecting packaging and expiry dates and verifying the varieties of dates being sold, especially those available openly on carts.

Meanwhile, President Fruit Mandi, Parimpora, Bashir Ahmad told Greater Kashmir that there was uncertainty surrounding the ripening process of watermelon being imported from outside states.

He said there was a need for government intervention to ascertain the safety of off-season fruits, particularly watermelon, which was widely consumed in Kashmir, especially during the month of Ramadan.

Ahmad said that the government should take decisive action to verify the quality and safety of fruits available in the market.

“This fruit is being imported from outside states, we don't know about the ripening procedure. Hundreds of quintals are being imported from outside to Kashmir,” he said.

Ahmad said that people were buying fruits like watermelon, but some were reluctant and do not find this fruit healthy now.

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