Almost everyone in my country (Nigeria) is at risk of eating poisoned fruits. You might be wondering what this is, don’t worry, I will explain in a bit.
But let me tell you my story.
I love bananas so much, my mom and friends know this. One day, my mom bought some bananas and I could tell from the look and taste that something was wrong, she also noticed it and we concluded it was forced ripped.
She bought them from a roadside hawker and we couldn’t even finish it because of the taste. I began to wonder what the dangerous chemicals used to force rip this banana would be doing in my body now, lol.
So, I took it upon myself to educate the public in what I call “poisoned fruits”.
Fruits are amazing, they play a lot of roles in the body, we need them for the many nutrients and phytochemicals they contain. They help in cleaning the body and boosting biochemical activities. But taking in poisoned fruits will not help you in any way, rather it will destroy your body.
What Are Poisoned Fruits?
What I call poisoned fruits are fruits that were forced ripped by ripening agents.
My main concerned is that you may not even know the ripening agent used in force ripping your fruit, whether it is unsaturated hydrocarbons like ethylene and acetylene or calcium carbide, a dangerous chemical.
Calcium carbide (CaC2) is the most used ripening agent for fruits but it is highly toxic and dangerous. This corrosive chemical causes harmful effects to your health including cancer because it has traces of arsenic and phosphorous.
And to make matters worse, it doesn’t even ripen the fruit, it just make the fruit softer and other changes that deceive us into thinking it is ripe.
But in the real sense, it is still an unripe fruit even though it feels and looks ripe. This is why some of the tastes of this artificially ripped fruits are horrible, e.g. mangoes and bananas.
Then to add insult to injury, when these hawkers who don’t even know that what they are using is dangerous, use this chemical to ripen fruits, they go above the conventional dosage, thus, increasing the dangerous risks the chemical causes.
The reason artificial ripening is now common is due to the highly developing fruit sales in our world today. Now, fruits are grown to be transported to distant places.
For the fruits to survive through all the ups and downs of transportation, they have to be harvested unripe to make them firm and mature so they won’t get damaged during the transportation and marketing processes.
When these fruits arrive at their destination markets, they are then force ripped before being put up for sale.
3 Dangers of Poisoned Fruits
In this section, I will explain why I refer to artificially ripped fruits using calcium carbide as “poisoned fruits”.
Some of the dangerous harmful effects of calcium carbide on the body are:
1. Increase your risks of cancer
Some of the early symptoms that you have been poisoned with phosphorous or arsenic are diarrhea (with or without blood), thirst, weaknesses, vomiting, burning sensation in your abdomen or chest, burning or irritation in the eyes, sore throat, permanent eye damage, difficulty swallowing, skin ulcers, shortness of breath, and cough.
2. Stomach upset
As an alkaline substance, carbide acts as an irritant to the stomach, it erodes the mucosal tissues inside your stomach and this, in turn, disrupts the functions of your intestines significantly.
3. Disrupts the neurological system
Carbide imitates acetylene gas by drastically impairing the neurological system by inducing hypoxia for a prolonged period of time.
Hypoxia is a condition characterized by low supply of oxygen to the blood and tissues. The symptoms of this condition are sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, memory loss, mood swings, mental confusion, cerebral oedema, and seizures.
10 Effective Ways To Know Poisoned Fruits
1. Calcium carbide doesn’t ripen fruit, it only makes them soft and gives them a feel and appearance of ripped fruits.
2. Fruits treated with calcium carbide have a disappointing flavor and inferior taste.
3. The inside of the fruit remains raw and green because this chemical only gives a cosmetic lift.
4. Fruits that are extremely raw need higher doses of calcium carbide thereby making the fruit more tasteless and toxic.
5. Pay attention also the color, for instance, bananas that are allowed to ripe naturally are dark yellow in color. They have small brown and dark spots on the bananas and their stalks are black. I always check for evenly spread brown or black spots on banana peels.
6. Bananas forced ripped with carbide are lemon-yellow in color and their stalks are green. They don’t have any black spots. Inspecting the stem to see if it is green in color is the surest way to know if a banana is forced ripped.
7. Carbide treated bananas have short life span compared to those allowed to ripen naturally.
8. carbide ripened fruits have uniform skin color.
9. Artificially ripened bananas have uneven skin feel. Some parts of the fruits will be soft while others will be hard. This happened because some parts came in touch with the carbide while others did not.
10. Another sign that the fruit you are about to buy is ripened artificially is if it is available before its season. So, I advise that you wait until the peak seasons to increase your chances of buying natural fruits.
And remember to wash farm products before use, you can soak them for some minutes in baking soda water before use but this still won’t remove all the harmful chemicals in them but it will reduce them a bit.
If you notice any strange taste upon eating any fruit throw it away. Some of the most common fruits ripened with calcium carbide are mangoes, bananas, papaya, etc.
Safer Ways To Ripen Fruits Naturally
You can place avocados and bananas together in an airtight bag and both of them will quickly get ripe because they will produce ethylene which will accumulate in the bag and hasten ripening.
You can also place unripe bananas or avocadoes with ripening passion fruits as it will hasten the ripening process.
You can even ripen bananas only by putting it in a brown paper bag and roll it shut. This will help trap the ethylene gas the bananas release and thereby hasten the process of ripening.
However, the overall best method to ripen your fruits naturally and avoid carbide-poisoned fruits is to have your own fruit garden.
I have some papayas, 3 cashew trees, avocado, lemon, and guava trees at my backyard and I am still looking for space to plant more fruits, lol.
The Use Of Calcium Carbide To Ripen Fruits In Nigeria
And because these warnings are not heeded, a lot of lives that shouldn’t be lost are going on a daily basis, like this sad story here. Some are traced to calcium carbide while others that do not still have links to ingestion of this harmful chemical die silently and they blame it on village people.
Some people are lucky enough to escape the effects of carbide and tell the story, like this one here, it is both pitiful and humorous.
Calcium carbide is a silent and under-reported killer in Nigeria. It is difficult to trace deaths caused by this chemical because it causes secondary diseases that are slow to manifest.
Despite NAFDAC’s sensitization programs, traders are still using this hazardous chemical. And a lot of Nigerians are not aware of the dangerous effects of this, and those who are aware are forced to avoid fruits totally, which shouldn’t be because we need fruits and veggies for optimum health and recovery from diseases.
And while NAFDAC criminalizes this action, not even a single person has been arrested to serve as an example to others, so how would these traders even take them serious?
Even the health of the traders handling this dangerous chemical is at risks.
And buyers who can’t wait for 5 days for plantain, bananas, or other fruits to get ripe are encouraging this inhumane behavior. If consumers insist on naturally ripped fruits, the sellers will adjust because consumers control the market.
And NAFDAC have to be tougher on their games, warnings, and sensitizations alone won’t help. The greed of man can push him to do anything for money, hence the holy book says “the love of money is the root of all evils”.
I believe NAFDAC should start arresting traders using this and even those patronizing them.
The high use of carbide is even termed a “dangerous food crisis” in Nigeria” and that is what it really is. A lot of families have been wiped out by consuming poisoned food items sold openly in the markets.
Other professional bodies should also join hands in the fight and not leave it for NAFDAC alone. A lot of people think only Lagos state is affected in this struggle, but it is not, carbide is used all over Nigeria.
This Poisoning of Nigerians by other Nigerians who are unaware or simply greedy for money has to stop. This is one of the reasons people die suddenly in this country and they blame it on innocent “village people”.
If carbide-ripening is not stopped, a lot of people will die from this silent killer. Cancer is on the rise in Nigeria and this is really a strange happening because in the past, it was strange to us and carbide-ripened fruits are one of the causes, avoid them like a plaque.
Hope you know other dangerous chemicals are used on food products also? Like beans being preserved in sniper.
Why Can’t They Just Ban Or Stop The Production Of Calcium Carbide?
I also thought of this before: “If calcium carbide is this dangerous to health, why do authorities worldwide not put a stop to its production?”
Then I read that is used in the mining industry to fuel their lamps because it burns and produces light when used in the production of acetylene gas.
It is also used to react with nitrogen to give cyanides. Calcium carbide is also used in the desulfurization of steel, cast iron, and hot metals.
They are other uses of this chemical, so these are the reasons why the production can’t be stopped completely.
Now, it is left for humans with brains to know foods and poisons and not to bring poisons close to their foods.
These are the reasons why you should fear carbide-riped fruits, aka, poisoned fruits, and do all you can to avoid them.