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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Do you eat the yellow mangoes?

    I do. I love them alongside sticky rice and coconut milk. My missus decides she'll do me some. I asked what was in the bag with the mangoes. It was 'Calcium Carbide .
    I thought the mangoes turned yellow by themselves but in fact they're yellowed here, and a few other countries, by using 'Calcium Carbide'.
    It's not just mangoes that are ripened by this chemical. Bananas being another.

    Calcium carbide is extremely hazardous to the human body as it contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus. It is banned in many countries of the world, but it is freely used in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and other countries. Thus we are at risk of short-term and long-term health effects simply by eating fruits that are induced to ripen.
    Calcium carbide CaC2 is used to easily generate low levels of ethylene gas which can hasten the (outside at least) ripening of fruits like bananas, mangoes etc.

    Ethylene gas is only dangerous if in a >33% concentration, which we won't find in actual use, but the contaminants arsenic and phosphorus hydride are the dangers to look out for:
    The early symptoms of arsenic or phosphorus poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea with or without blood, burning sensation of the chest and abdomen, thirst, weakness,difficulty in swallowing, irritation or burning in the eyes and skin, permanent eye damage, ulcers on the skin, irritation in the mouth, nose and throat. Throat sores, cough,and wheezing and shortness of breath may also occur soon after exposure to the chemical. Higher exposure may cause a build-up of fluids in the lungs. Eating artificially ripened mangoes causes stomach upset because the alkaline substance is an irritant that erodes the mucosal tissue in the stomach and disrupts intestinal function.Chronic exposure to the chemical could lead to peptic ulcer.
    As CaC2 imitates acetylene gas, it may affect the neurological system by inducing prolonged hypoxia. Recent findings related to carbide poisoning have reported headache, dizziness, mood disturbances, sleepiness, mental confusion, memory loss, cerebral oedema and seizure. Though eating the fruit will not bring about such an allergic reaction, the method of ripening it could cause such problems. Studies conducted by Erciyes University (Turkey) during 2005 revealed that CaC2 is hazardous as it contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus.


    Calcium carbide (CaC2) and 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (CEPA) are commonly applied in Thailand on wholesale markets and by the fruit processing industry to accelerate postharvest ripening of mangoes. Aiming at systematic investigation of the effects that the ripening accelerators exert on the development of chemical and physical fruit quality attributes, the impact of these agents and temperature on postharvest ripening of three Thai cultivars of prime commercial relevance were evaluated. Mature-green fruits of cvs. 'Nam Dokmai', 'Kaew', and 'Chok Anan' were ripened under daily monitoring for 7 days at 242C and 332C, representative for ambient temperature during fruit distribution in Europe and Thailand. At the applied dose (10 g kg-1 of fruit), CaC2 showed a significant effect only on firmness and peel colouration, except for peel colour of 'Nam Dokmai'. Mangoes treated with CaC2 were softer and therefore more sensitive to mechanical damage during handling and processing. Apart from minor differences in the contents of titratable acids of 'Nam Dokmai' and 'Kaew' observed at some days, no influence of the treatment with CEPA at a solution concentration of 200 mg kg-1 on fruit firmness, colour of peel and mesocarp, and chemical fruit quality was observed. When eating ripeness was defined based on the characteristic developments of total soluble solids and the sugar/acid ratio, the required ripening time was not affected by the chemical treatments, whereas exposure to the higher temperature resulted in shortening by one day. Consequently, the use of the ripening agents was not justified from an economic point of view. Depending on the physiological maturity at the time of application, they may even worsen overall fruit quality through different enhancement of external and inner quality parameters with exclusive stimulation of fruit softening and peel colour changes.
    Last edited by Pragmatic; 13-05-2017 at 02:09 PM.

  2. #2
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    I think you will find that most sold in this country (where they are grown) ripen naturally it is only when they are exported green that they are subjected to the gas treatment, same with bananas.

    Ours ripen on the tree.



    Great with cereal for breakfast.

  3. #3
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    If you mean this I love it...



    Its about calcium carbide..I saw it in bananas before ...but never see it in mango...

  4. #4
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    both fruits are green and age to yellow on the tree, if given the chance.

  5. #5
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    Actually drying some "indian" mangoes as they call it here on the solar dryer in the garden. Should be ready in one more hour, so about 7 hours all in all in dryer today.

    That variety is small and each year on trees, only good green. If yellow, it is rotten already. They eat it with vinegar and chili or sugar or salt.

    The carabao mango is good yellow and no chems added.

    The bananas over here, you can recognize the ones that been treated by spotting the attachment green and bananas yellow. Attachment is black if not treated with whatever evil chemicals...

    Yellow mangoes, or carabao are great dried, first time i try the indian ones, looks good and tasty so far.
    While doing it watched few youtube videos about the Phils dry mangoes and seen that few chemicals, lots of sugar for the ones we find packed...

    go natural
    Last edited by forreachingme; 13-05-2017 at 03:49 PM.
    Monday,Tuesday, then it goes WTF !

  6. #6
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    Count me in... I love mangoes (green and yellow)...

    *calcium carbide, not so much...

  7. #7
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Been eating yellow, green and in between lately. We are overwhelmed with bloody mangoes this year. 5 varieties in all shapes, colors and sizes. Nary a bit of calcium carbide in sight.

    OD'd on sticky rice and mango Isaan style.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by birding
    I think you will find that most sold in this country (where they are grown) ripen naturally it is only when they are exported green that they are subjected to the gas treatment
    My missus doesn't agree. She says that if the mangoes are allowed to ripen naturally they ripen in dribs and drabs. Okay for the home use. But all those sold in Thailand commercially for, let's say the Friday market or wholesale etc, are all treated with CaC2 to guarantee supply.
    CaC2 is sold openly and is easily available in lots of stores.


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    When in season in Sialkot they are to die for.

  10. #10
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    No mangoes this year up in province. Was there couple weeks ago, many trees are damaged from typhoon few month ago.

    The carabao mango is biennial and the even years are better normally, zilch 2017.

    The indian mango tree of neighbor is fully loaded, we eat plenty of those small greens this days.

    The carabao mangoes from Guimaras are hitting market now, late season, but price remain high at around 150 php kg.

    Those packed dried mangoes sold at airport are banned in many countries, i can not take this packs to Switzerland. But well now that i seen how they do it, it is much less appealing.

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Watson
    When in season in Sialkot they are to die for.
    Your wish may come true.

  12. #12
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    Great spot is Sialkot.

    All the blokes are down the gyn bulking up for women that are not allowed out.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by birding View Post
    I think you will find that most sold in this country (where they are grown) ripen naturally it is only when they are exported green that they are subjected to the gas treatment, same with bananas.

    Ours ripen on the tree.


    Yep...
    'Tis the case.

    This process to induce quick ripening of mangoes is a rarity, even amongst high volume commercial growers. Certainly applies to local markets.

    Prag and his good wife must exist in a parallel world.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thaimeme
    Prag and his good wife must exist in a parallel world.
    So must the guy that made the vid.

  15. #15
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic
    they ripen in dribs and drabs
    True. Few a day over the season.

    All the mangoes in our local markets are naturally ripened. Supplied by several small growers a few baskets a day. My missus included.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic
    those sold in Thailand commercially
    Large commercial growers commonly use calcium carbide ripened. They pick tons all at the same time. Ripen and ship to retailers.

    This all according to she who must be obeyed.

  16. #16
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    Those mangoes sold with sticky rice are delicious. I suspect they are grafted as the seed is so thin it may not be viable.
    Bit of a worry about this revelation of added chemicals though.

    Back in the Islands we used to ripen a bunch of bananas by putting it in a sack and throwing a very ripe piece of fruit in with it. Any old fruit, as long as it was very ripe. The ethylene it secreted ripened the whole banana bunch at one time.
    I daresay you could ripen a container load of mangoes by throwing in several ripe bananas.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic
    they ripen in dribs and drabs
    True. Few a day over the season.

    All the mangoes in our local markets are naturally ripened. Supplied by several small growers a few baskets a day. My missus included.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic
    those sold in Thailand commercially
    Large commercial growers commonly use calcium carbide ripened. They pick tons all at the same time. Ripen and ship to retailers.

    This all according to she who must be obeyed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Norton
    Large commercial growers commonly use calcium carbide ripened.
    Even the rural small holdings commonly use CaC2 to prepare for the weekly market. It's more common than people think. Not only mangoes get done.
    Jeff needs to get out a little more.

  18. #18
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic
    Even the rural small holdings commonly use CaC2 to prepare for the weekly market.
    Don't know where you are but not here. Come up and have a look.

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    The main reason why I started the thread was because my missus did this inside the house. She did it over 3 days. The longer they're left the more yellow they become. So unknown to me my missus had been subjecting us, as a family, to Acetylene gas and low levels of arsenic. I couldn't be bothered to ask her why? It's just a monkey see monkey do world.

    In the context of developing countries however, artificially ripened fruits comes into the question of safety. Shoddy people looking to make more profit do not care for the health of people and the process they carry out to ripen fruits artificially might not exactly be up to the mark. This means, contamination of harmful chemicals and carcinogens can occur, rendering the fruit unsafe for human consumption.
    Next thing you know they'll be transporting fish and meats in Formaldehyde.

  20. #20
    Harbinger of Doom

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    Thanks for posting this. It's all news to me.

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    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton
    Don't know where you are but not here. Come up and have a look.
    I'm WSW of Nang Rong off route 24. Thanks for the invitation but have been to visit you 9-10 years ago along with Marmite and Dalton. Too noisy for me.

  22. #22
    ENT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    Been eating yellow, green and in between lately. We are overwhelmed with bloody mangoes this year. 5 varieties in all shapes, colors and sizes. Nary a bit of calcium carbide in sight.

    OD'd on sticky rice and mango Isaan style.
    Lucky bugger.
    I love mangoes, and all fruits, but have been put off by all the perfectly ripened fruit I see in the markets these days, not like a couple of years ago where fruit were of variegated colour.

    Now I tend to buy village products, like small bananas, and dodgy looking sticky skinned mangoe that aren't quite ripe, oranges with dodgy looking blistery skins, tomatoes that look as if I'm sharing them with some insects, and so on, not treated with various chemicals to make them look clean and appealing.

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    This might help you ENT.

    Colour - In an artificially ripened mango there will be patches of green. These patches will be clearly distinguishable from the yellow and unlike a naturally ripened mango it will not have a uniform blend of yellow and green. Another sign is that the mango will have an unnaturally bright yellow colour when compared to a naturally ripened mango,
    Taste - When you eat an artificially ripened mango you will feel a slight burning in the mouth. Some people may even experience severe reactions like a stomach ache, diarrhoea and burning down the throat,
    Texture and colour of the pulp - When you cut open a naturally ripened mango the pulp will a bright reddish-yellow, which is uniform. In the case of an artificially ripened mango it will be a light and dark yellow, indicating that it is not fully ripe. The comparison lies in the fact that the mango will look completely ripe from the outside but it will not be so on the inside,
    Juice - Another indicator is that when you cut a naturally ripened mango, you will find that it will be sweet and have a lot of juice. In the case of artificially ripened mangoes, there will be little or no juice. This is because the ethyl that naturally ripens a mango produces juice, which cannot be formed when the mango is artificially ripened,
    Bananas which are forced ripe with carbide are lemon yellow and their stalks are green and moreover they are clear yellow without any black spots.
    Also, those ripened with calcium carbide are soft and have good peel/skin colour but poor in flavour. They also have a shorter shelf-life,
    Banans which are ripened naturally are dark yellow and there are mostly small brown/black spots here and there on the bananas with the stalks being black

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Passing Through
    Thanks for posting this. It's all news to me.
    12 years living here and today's the first I'd been informed that fruit is ripened by chemicals and is normal practice, especially by commercial growers/sellers.

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    Chalk is calcium carbide.

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