Fruits are, in fact, the best gifts from God to mankind. Fruits have always been a significant component of our diet because they are the best source of essential nutrients. Regardless of whether you get them at the weekly farmer’s market or from a local vendor every morning, you should constantly be aware of how they will stay intact and fresh until they reach you. You should make an effort to determine whether the fruits are truly organic before eating them and to find out what chemicals were employed to keep them fresh.

In order to avoid the use of prohibited chemicals like calcium carbide or acetylene gas for the artificial ripening of fruits, the top food safety regulator, the FSSAI, recently gave the “effective surveillance and enforcement plan” directive to all food safety commissioners across all States. In order to resolve this issue, it has also released an advice note. It has urged fruit vendors who have obtained FSSAI registration to refrain from ripening fruits artificially using prohibited chemicals. In this blog, we will discuss the fundamental recommendations made by the FSSAI regarding the avoidance of chemical contamination of fruits and vegetables.

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What is Artificial Ripening?

Unsaturated hydrocarbons like acetylene, ethylene, and others can successfully produce colour changes and enhance fruit ripening. Organoleptic quality was found to be compromised, especially when collected fruits are submitted to treatment without taking their maturity status into account, even though the cosmetic quality of such artificially ripened fruits was found to improve. Furthermore, if sufficiently mature fruits aren’t used for such purposes, the amount of ripening agent needed to induce ripening for improved cosmetic qualities, including look, will be substantially higher than normal dose. So register with the FSSAI to prove that your fruits have not undergone artificial ripening.

What is Calcium Carbide?

Only firm and mature fruits are least damaged during marketing since they are shipped to far-off locations, needing many days of regular or refrigerated transit. Artificial ripening has become crucial since the fruits ripen at the destination markets before being sold at retail. Calcium Carbide (CaC2), usually referred to as “Masala,” is the most widely used chemical for artificial ripening even though it is prohibited by both the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations of 2011 and the PFA Rules of 1955.

When pure, calcium carbide is colorless, but when not, it is greyish-white to black in color and smells like garlic. It creates acetylene gas, also known as carbide gas, which is a chemical equivalent of ethylene and speeds up the ripening process, when it mixes with water. It is claimed to work in a manner similar to the natural ripening hormone ethylene. If you want to apply for FSSAI registration, you shouldn’t add these kinds of chemicals to your fruits.

Why has the fssai advised vendors that dangerous chemicals should not be used to ripen fruits?

  • The existing methods for artificially ripening fruits using illegal ingredients, according to the agency in charge of regulating food safety, have created a major threat to human health.
  • In addition to the toxic acetylene gas, the harmful chemicals used to artificially ripen the fruits are primarily calcium carbide, also known as masala.
  • Despite being prohibited, these pesticides are still widely utilized by fruit wholesalers and suppliers, even those who hold an FSSAI registration license. So if you wish to sell fruits, you can also obtain your fssai registration license.

If the fruit vendors have fssai guidelines compliant?

The top authority on food safety has stated that despite a strict ban on the sale of fruits that have been artificially ripened using calcium carbide, such ripened fruits are nonetheless frequently spotted in marketplaces. This is a really important matter to be worried about. To be able to apply for food license, it must be resolved quickly and effectively.

How will the fssai address this problem?

  • If fruit vendors want to apply for food license, FSSAI has urged them to adopt natural, risk-free methods of ripening fruits, such as employing ethylene gas.
  • It has instructed all State and Union Territory Food Safety Commissioners to implement an effective surveillance and enforcement programme to monitor the likelihood that fruits could be ripened using dangerous, outlawed substances like calcium carbide or acetylene gas.
  • If you wish to apply for food license, they are also instructed to carry out this procedure in the case of vegetable dealers and to assess the level of pesticides as well.
  • Additionally, commissioners are tasked with organizing educational events at Mandis for all of the food vendors and other operators. Additionally, the FSSAI has advised using print and electronic media to raise awareness of this issue among consumers and food businesses, so get your license from a food license consultant. In addition, the FSSAI has established a maximum permitted limit for the use of ethylene gas and a distinct standard for operating practices.

Where should an issue with food safety be reported, and how?

  • Anyone is welcome to contact the concerned State Food Safety Commissioners with a problem with food safety. If anybody wishes to register with the FSSIA, the following legal provisions are created by the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 and the Food Safety and Standards Regulations of 2011:
  • According to Food Safety and Standards Regulations (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) no one may sell, offer for sale, expose for sale, or have in his premises for the purpose of sale any fruits that have been artificially ripened by use of acetylene gas, also known as carbide gas.
  • Selling food that is not of the nature, substance, or quality required is punishable, according to the Food Safety and Standards Act. Get your license today from a food license consultant to avoid such penalties. Anyone who sells food that is not in compliance with the provisions of this Act or the Regulations made thereunder, or that is not of the nature, substance, or quality demanded by the purchaser, faces a fine of up to five lakh rupees.
  • If you desire a fssai registration license, you must comply with Section 59 of the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006, which states that anybody who manufactures for sale, keeps, sells, distributes, or imports any piece of food for human consumption that is dangerous may face penalties.
  • Where the failure or violation does not cause harm, with a fine that may reach one lakh rupees in addition to a period of imprisonment that may go up to six months.
  • When such a failure or violation causes a non-grave injury, with a term of imprisonment that may last up to one year and a fine that may reach three lakh rupees.
  • If the failure or violation causes a serious damage, the offender may be sentenced to up to six years in prison and/or fined up to five lakh rupees after submitting an application for a food license.
  • Where the failure or violation results in death, with a term of imprisonment that must not be less than seven years but may go as far as life in prison, as well as with a fine that must not be less than ten lakh rupees.

Consumers must take precautions in order to apply for food license

  • Before eating, properly wash the fruits under potable running water for a few minutes to remove any contaminants.
  • It is preferable to cut fruit into pieces before eating it, especially when eating mangoes and apples.
  • Remove the fruit’s peel before eating, if at all possible.
  • Choose fruits and vegetables free of blemishes, lesions, or other abnormalities.
  • Buy fruits and vegetables from reputable merchants who possess a license for FSSAI registration.
  • Peeling fruits and vegetables before eating and cooking will lower pesticide exposure.
  • Avoid purchasing and eating sliced fruit from open markets.
  • Discard any fruits or veggies that have mould or fungus on them.
  • Discard the outer leaves of leafy vegetables like lettuce and cabbage to reduce the risks posed by pesticide residues.
  • Avoid washing produce with detergents since they might be absorbed within.
  • Have fruits and vegetables tested at facilities like Labs to ensure their quality.
  • Use clean utensils, a clean cutting board, and stainless steel blades.

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Due to their superior availability of important nutrients, fruits have long played a vital role in our diet. Whether you purchase them from a neighborhood vendor every morning or at the weekly farmer’s market, you should always be concerned about how they will remain whole and fresh until they reach you. To ensure that the fruits you consume are free of pesticides and preservatives, the FSSAI has established several guidelines. If you also need an FSSAI license, you can speak with a food license consultant. However, all fruit vendors must register with the FSSAI if their yearly turnover exceeds 12 lakh rupees.

If you want to apply for food license to sell food, you can speak with a food license consultant like us. To avoid using substances like calcium carbide or acetylene gas for the artificial ripening of crops, the FSSAI had stated in such rules. It has pleaded with fruit dealers who have got FSSAI registration to abstain from chemically ripening fruits unnaturally. You may easily get FSSAI license with our assistance. Please feel free to contact our food license consultant if you require any assistance with the FSSAI registration process.