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PIB Summaries 20 May 2024

  1. Calcium Carbide


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.


Facts for Prelims

About Calcium Carbide

Chemical Composition:

  • It is a compound with the chemical formula CaC2 and is also known as ‘masala’.

Common Use:

  • Commonly used for ripening fruits like mangoes, it releases acetylene gas containing harmful traces of arsenic and phosphorus.

Manufacturing Process:

  • Manufactured by heating a lime and carbon mixture to 2000 to 2100°C (3632 to 3812°F) in an electric arc furnace.


  • Prohibited under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulation, 2011.


  • Used in mining and metal industries, as well as in the production of acetylene gas.

Fruit Ripening:

  • Highly reactive and releases acetylene gas, which is used to artificially ripen fruits.
Health Impacts

Health Risks:

  • Can cause serious health issues such as dizziness, frequent thirst, irritation, weakness, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting, and skin ulcers.
  • Acetylene gas is equally hazardous to those handling it.

Residue Risks:

  • Calcium carbide may come into direct contact with fruits during application, leaving residues of arsenic and phosphorus on the fruits.

June 2024