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Delhi HC directs Centre & FSSAI to respond to petition on ethephon ban
Thursday, 06 December, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Delhi High Court has directed the Centre and FSSAI to file their responses to a petition seeking a ban on the use of the chemical ethephon to artificially ripen fruits. Notices were issued to both the respondents asking for their stand on why the chemical was being used despite being banned by the states.

The petition, filed by advocate Shivashish Dwivedi, stated that ethepon was an insecticide and also contained calcium carbide, which is hazardous to health.

The High Court, however, did not grant any stay on the use of the chemical, but observed that the manner in which fruits were artificially ripened was not correct. The next hearing of the matter is slated to take place on January 24, 2019.

The petition stated that ethylene gas had been permitted by FSSAI (the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), while the use of calcium carbide/ethephon was still prevalent and needed a check. It also pointed out that calcium carbide was also mildly explosive and country’s apex food regulator was not taking enough steps to prevent its use.

The petition also questioned FSSAI’s directions and guidance note, which permitted the use of ethephon in the powder form, packed in sachets, as a source of ethylene gas, provided that fruits do not come in direct contact with the sachets.

It added that the guidance note vaguely stated additional conditions and was not a statutory force of law.
 
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