It is a foregone conclusion that eating fruits is one of the best ways to keep healthy. As they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
But chances are the apple, mango or banana you are eating may be doing you more harm than good.

The fruit business has experienced rapid growth as more and more Kenyans become conscious about maintaining good health.

However, driven by the urge for quick sales, unscrupulous traders are using harmful chemicals to hasten the ripening of fruits, uncaring about the dangers they are exposing consumers to.

After months of investigation, The Standard has established that there is an elaborate scheme to accelerate the ripening of fruits to meet the growing demand.
Our investigations revealed that some fruit vendors are using calcium carbide, a chemical used in manufacturing fertilisers and in welding, to induce ripening.

The practice has gained notoriety among fruit vendors and the fruit processing industry, and caught the attention of the Ministry of Health.

Some of the fruits ripened artificially are bananas, mangoes and sometimes apples and pawpaws.

Meru and Kirinyaga counties are among the largest producers of bananas and mangoes. Murang’a and Makueni counties are major producers of mangoes.

Major towns

The fruits are later supplied to consumers in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and other major towns in the country.

In a circular last November, Director of Public Health Kepha Ombacho accused vendors of endangering consumers by taking shorter and dangerous routes to ripen fruits.

“As you are aware, calcium carbide causes serious health hazards, including cancer, to consumers of these fruits and workers who are in direct contact during application of this chemical,” Dr Ombacho said.

But the warning has not deterred the practice.

The use of calcium carbide to ripen fruits is banned in many countries, including Kenya. Continued use has been blamed on poor enforcement of the law.

The Standard spoke to vendors in Nyeri, Meru, Murang’a and Kirinyaga on how artificial ripening is done. Some said they knew how to ripen fruits artificially but did not do it.

Kirinyaga County Public Health Officer Evans Kago said the affect depends on the volume and frequency of consumption of the chemical.

“Calcium carbide has serious side effects, chief among them being it causes cancer. You might not see the effects until the chemicals accumulate in the body. There is a maximum amount of this chemical the body can take. But when you go above this level, it turns into poison,” Mr Kago said.

At Whispers Market in Nyeri Town, vendors said artificial ripening of fruits was an open secret.

Same here I only buy them from a reliable source.

This topic was here sometimes back.
Most market women use passion fruit which produces ethylene gas.

Is it bad to use passion fruits… I have seen grandma use those passion fruits anaeka on those raw bananas ndo ziive evenly and so they don’t have blemishes

It’s not bad, in fact the method was introduced by KARI (now KALRO)

Isn’t that natural? I think its okey and healthy.

By the way sio lazima ukule. Hata hewa ukiskia imejaa pollution, chemicals etc unafaa tu uwache ku breathe. kabisaa.
Hata maji usioge na usikunywe.

ata Michael Jackson alikua akivaa mask hasivute vumbi ya magufuli land na alituacha tu.

Fruits~cancer chemicals
Vegetables~sewage water
Cereals ~aflotoxin
Sisi kwisa

Maize~gmo from Mexico

Ama carrot…ION pia rocks and soil produce background radiation that causes cancer so avoiding fruits yet you are exposed to a gazillion toxins, it does not make sense.

If you listen to all this ‘don’t eat ABCD it causes WXYZ’ then we would be left with nothing to eat.
Too much scare mongrering,fake research and outright lies being spread around.

Akina Billy graham wakizaliwa in the beginning of the past century walikuta wakati coca cola ilikuwa na real cocaine as the secret ingredient not caffeine like today. Lead was in everything from paints to petrol. Asbestos kila mahali. Matunda ilikuwa inaoshwa na DDT wacha hizi chemical soft za leo. Sigara ilikuwa fashionable. Kwanza non filter. Not to mention the sheer volume of raw chemicals used in every day home care products e.g. arsenic, mercury,lye etc.

When he started travelling, ndege ilikuwa inatoa fumes hadi inabidi mfungue madirisha huko juu. And engines dying was a kawaida thing. Not to mention the wars that were going on with mass pollution using very dirty weapons.

Na hawa wazee wanakuchapwa miaka 100 despite the odds.

Kenya we are alive by the mercy of God, ukijua vitu tunakula utajua kweli Mungu yuko.

you cant use extremes to make a point. How many people are living to 99 years? or what is the prevalence of major diseases comparatively

There are over 100,000 hibakusha alive today. 100,000!

What is a hibakusha you ask? These are people who were in or near ground zero during the Japanese nuclear blasts of 1945. Wazee walikunywa radiation and hell fire flames and lived to tell their stories. Some were given days to live due to severe radiation; so severe it was dangerous to stand near them but they beat all the odds.

Na bado wako. So wewe ukilia sijui matunda iko na blemish sijui iko na carbide kuna mtu alikuwa ndani ya nuclear blast na akaishi na akazaa na yuko bado, so eat that fuckin’ apple.

very unheothy

If you have a small space in your backyard why don’t you cultivate your own fruits and veggies? Yes it takes a while to grow but you reduce your chemical intake by half. I do realize it’s not practical for everything but it’s better than nothing. Mimi summer time you’ll never find me buying tomatoes, zucchini, peppers. They taste better and you even feel good about eating something you cultivated.
My last harvest

Its just very simple. Ukienda sokoni kama ni fruits nunua zile ziko raw ziivie kwa nyumba itakusave sana or you get them from a trusted source

Some of the comments are extremely hillarious