Chemically-treated mangoes flood city marketsMohibub Zaman
Chemically doctored mangoes are flooding the city’s markets and are even being sold in shops that display signs that state they only sell mangoes that are ‘free of chemicals’.
The Rapid Action Battalion, the Bangladesh Standard Testing Institute, and the Dhaka Deputy Commissioners office have all detected chemicals in mangoes sold in most of the shops which boast of the naturalness of their mangoes.
Most mangoes are produced in Rajshahi division from where green unripe mangoes enter Dhaka in trucks one day, only to be found yellow and ripe in the market the very next day.
This is possible because of the magic touch of calcium carbide which can induce ripening in mangoes very quickly, but which doctors say can harm the liver and kidney and also cause vomiting and diarrhoea when ingested.
Mangoes which have been ripened artificially can often be identified by the prominent green patches on the skin of the otherwise yellow mango.
Some traders told New Age that the chemicals are applied to the mangoes in the orchards before they come to the market.
At a meeting arranged by the Rapid Action Battalion in Chapainawabganj, local mango growers said that various chemicals are used to help the mangoes grow before they are picked.
They alleged that wholesale traders, who are buying mango orchards, use chemicals while the mangoes are still growing on the trees.
Abul Khair, a mango shop owner near Bashundhara City, said that he only buys mangoes from Kansat in Rajshahi, and claimed that they were totally free of chemicals.
However, he admitted that he had no way of checking whether or not this was actually the case.
The BSTI destroyed about 32,450 kg of chemically treated mangoes after conducting raids in different parts of the city between May 21 to June 10, said BSTI’s assistant director SM Abu Sayed.
He also said everyday their teams inspect shops in different parts of the city to find chemically treated mangoes.
On 21 May, a BSTI mobile court found mangoes treated with calcium carbide at the wholesale fruit trading market in Badamtoli in Old Dhaka, and destroyed 146 kg of chemically treated mangoes.
On the same day another mobile court, after inspecting fruits shop at Shah Ali Beribadh, destroyed 17,800 kg mangoes in 13 shops that were chemically doctored.
On the following day BSTI mobile courts even found mangoes treated with calcium carbide at the Agora supershop in Rifle Square in Dhanmondi and destroyed 160 kg of mangoes.
Other mobile courts have destroyed doctored mangoes at Prince Bazaar Ltd in Mohammadpur, Billal Shasya Vabdat in Shewrapara and shops in Hatirpul.
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