What is Calcium Carbide?

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What is Calcium Carbide? Blog Image


The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has alerted traders’/fruits handlers/Food Business Operators (FBOs) operating ripening chambers to strictly ensure compliance with the prohibition on calcium carbide for artificial ripening of fruits, particularly during the mango season.

About Calcium Carbide

  • It is a compound with the chemical formula CaC2 and also known as ‘masala’.
  • It is commonly used for ripening fruits like mangoes, releases acetylene gas which contains harmful traces of arsenic and phosphorus.
  • Manufacturing: It is manufactured by heating a lime and carbon mixture to 2000 to 2100°C (3632 to 3812°F) in an electric arc furnace.
  • It has been prohibited as per the provision in the sub-regulation of Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulation, 2011.
  • Application
    • It is used in mining and metal industries as well as in the production of acetylene gas.
    • It is a highly reactive compound and releases acetylene gas which is used to artificially ripen fruits
  • Health impacts
    • It can cause serious health issues such as dizziness, frequent thirst, irritation, weakness, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting and skin ulcers, etc.
    • Additionally, acetylene gas is equally hazardous to those handling it.
    • There are chances that calcium carbide may come in direct contact with fruits during application and leave residues of arsenic and phosphorus on fruits.

Q1:What is Ethylene Oxide?

It is a flammable gas with a somewhat sweet odor. It dissolves easily in water. It appears as a clear colorless gas with an ethereal odor.

Source: FSSAI Alerts Fruit Traders to Ensure Compliance with Prohibition of Calcium Carbide in Fruit Ripening