As TS Intensifies Raids, Fruit Dealers Shift Base to Bidar
HYDERABAD: With State government stepping up vigil against artificial ripening of fruits and police intensifying raids, it seems the fruit dealers in Hyderabad have shifted their base to Bidar district in Karnataka.
Officials at the Telangana Food Safety department said they have received information about agents transporting fruits from Bidar to markets in Hyderabad and other parts of the state. It is suspected that the fruit dealers have shifted their base to ensure hassle-free ripening of fruits using carbide and ethephon.
According to sources, the shifting of base will help fruit dealers escape the scrutiny of Food Safety officials as the under-staffed department won’t be able to check each and every truck laden with fruits. Meanwhile, the steady flow of artificially ripened fruits from Bidar is causing concern among authorities. With temperatures soaring and the state reeling under scorching heat, the consumption of fruits has gone up. With artificially ripened fruits flooding the market, authorities are concerned about the health hazard involved.
“We received information that agents are ripening fruits in Bidar and bringing them to Telangana. We are regularly conducting checks to curb artificial ripening of fruits here. But we are not in a position to check each lorry-load of fruits, if they are transported from Bidar. We don’t have the manpower to keep an eye on trucks transporting artificially ripened fruits from Bidar border,” said an official from the Telangana Food Safety department.
Agents use chemicals to ripen green bananas. The same process is followed to ripen mangoes.
Food Safety officials have booked a total of 130 cases against fruit dealers during the last couple of months for selling artificially ripened fruits. They have also sent around 200 samples to Telangana State Food Laboratory for testing.
However, this did not deter agents and artificially ripened fruits are being sold at markets in Moghalpura, Mirchowk, Bahadurpura, Chandrayangutta and other places.
Cops to Test Fruit Juice Samples Also
Officials are also picking up samples of fruit juices, marketed by popular brands to check if any banned chemicals are used. Two samples each would be picked from each district of Telangana and sent to Telangana State Food Laboratory for tests.
In a raid at Ramnagar, Musheerabad, a manufacturer who was preparing fake mango juice using mango essence, sugar and water was apprehended by Task Force sleuths in a check conducted along with Food Safety officials.