Dhaka – There is no use or existence of formalin in mangoes in the country but a section of dishonest traders is using calcium carbide for their quick ripening, claims an expert.
“Formalin is harmful to health but formalin is not used in mangoes. It’s a matter of satisfaction,” said Prof Dr MA Rahim of Department of Horticulture, Bangladesh Agricultural University while presenting a keynote paper at a national dialogue here on Wednesday.
He, however, acknowledged that a section of dishonest traders is using calcium carbide to ripen mangoes quickly though the use of calcium carbide is prohibited in the country.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and USAID’s Agriculture Value Chains Project (AVC) jointly arranged the dialogue on ‘Enabling Policy Environment for Mango Marketing’ at DCCI auditorium.
Commerce Ministry’s Additional Secretary Munshi Shafiul Haque attended the dialogue as the chief guest.
The expert said calcium carbide increases the risk of cancer but Bangladeshi farmers do not know what the calcium carbide is.
Prof Rahim said Bangladesh is the seventh largest mango-producing country in the world as its annual production is around 10 lakh metric tonnes having a Tk 8,000 crore annual transaction.
“There’s a prospect for mango to become an exportable product,” he said mentioning the consequences of indiscriminate use of different chemicals.
Sharing some advice for consumers, the expert said the consumers need to buy different varieties of mangoes as per their appropriate ripening time.
“Select fruits and vegetables without spots or necrosis and any abnormality. Wash fruits thoroughly with water,” he said.
Quoting Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Prof Rahim said formalin is not a ripening agent and every fruit has the natural amount of formalin in it (1-60 PPM) and mangoes bear 1.22-3.08 PPM of natural formalin.
He also noted that the Bangladesh Food Safety Act 2013 should be more transparent and easier for the benefits of producers and consumers.
Experts viewed that misconception and lack of proper knowledge about formalin are creating panic among common people over the existence of formalin in mangoes, especially after the government’s massive raids against formalin-treated mangoes, all over the country in 2013 and 2014.
Former vice president of DCCI Md Shoaib Choudhury said urged media and businesspeople to help create awareness among farmers to produce export quality mangoes.
DCCI Secretary General AHM Rezaul Kabir and general secretary of Bangladesh Super Market Owners Zakir Hossain, among others, spoke on the occasion. – source:UNB