Everyone is tempted towards red and juicy watermelons being sold in markets by roadside vendors. Melons are a popular fruit of summers though its demand decreases after the arrival of mangoes. Yet this fruit tempts every passer-by because of its attractive shape and colour.
But before you buy this red goodie, think twice as this redness may not be good for heath. Extra redness you see in these watermelons, according to health experts, there is indeed something suspicious behind the sheen.
Most of the watermelons being sold in the market are very red and juicy. But one must remember that watermelons become sweeter only after summers starts hitting the region. This implies that most of the watermelons being sold in markets nowadays are ripen by artificial methods.
Vendors offer bright red pieces of melons to consumers who buy the same without even thinking of its adverse effects. They have apparently started injecting a red dye into the watermelon to give it a bright red shade. These colours are toxic and may cause deadly diseases.
A spurious red colour injected into watermelon gives it an attractive shade. Even the round shape can be an indicator for buyers as most of them have been ripen by exposing to carbide that generates ethylene gas which gives out heat that in turn helps the fruit to ripe fast and in proper shape.
Use of harmful colours in foods to simply make food look attractive, is not restricted to watermelons alone. Even vegetables are not spared. Lady-fingers, pumpkin, brinjal are also adulterated. Due to poor enforcement of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, the consumer's ignorance is the bigger apathy which allows adulterators to get away with such practices.
According to the expert, the colours used in artificial ripening include sudan red, methanol yellow and lead chromate. "Carbide which is used to ripen the fruit is harmful for liver and kidney, while methanol yellow can cause cancer, stomach ailments and degeneration of the male reproductive organs. Lead chromate can cause anaemia, brain damage and blindness. Whereas, sudan red is also harmful for stomach and digestion.
There is no other way to check this illegal practice other than the consumer awareness. People can use these tips to identify dyed fruits and vegetables :
1) Fruits and vegetables should be uniformly coloured.
2) If black blotches appear on the skin of fruits and vegetables within 2-3 days, it means chemical is been injected.
3) If the fruits is round in shape. (Carbine chemical generates ethylene gas which releases excess heat and makes the fruit to ripen fast and in total round shape)
Apart from following these tips, people must go for seasonal fruits and vegetables and in case of any health hazard consulting a doctor immediately is the only solution.