Experts warn on imported fruits

Foreign berries, kiwis attractive but contain fewer nutrients

Hyderabad: Imported fruits like avocado, kiwi, blueberries are rich in nutrients but they are available only in big cities, that too in niche supermarkets at exorbitant price.

Apples are imported from China, Australia, America and Italy. Oranges come from Egypt and dragon fruits from Thailand.

These fruits are mostly imported during off-season, packed and stored to increase their shelf life.

Mr Mohammed Qatar, a fruit importer said, “There is a growing demand for Washington Apples, New Zealand kiwis and China pears. Imported fruits account for nearly one-third of fruit sales.” Imported fruits like avocados are rich in good fat, which benefits the heart. Similarly, kiwis are rich in Vitamin C, giving protection against infections. Cranberries help in controlling urinary tract infections.

Chief nutritionist at Care Hospitals, Ms A. Ushasree, said, “There are some who need to double the amount of fruits that they have everyday as they are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals to fight diseases. So, if we can get good quality imported fruits, than there is no harm in consuming them.”

But is the nutritional value intact?

Imported fruits appear attractive but they contain fewer nutrients say some experts. Besides, the imported varieties appear to be brighter and fresher than the locally available fruits, but this is due to preservation.

As fruits can spoil during transportation due to handling and packing, there are modifications to help them survive the journey better.

Seasonal fruits easy on pockets

Seasonal fruits grown locally are cheaper and also abundant in nutrients, claim experts.

Locally-grown fruits have to be sold within a time-frame and due to this reason they are available during the season at a cheaper price. Mr Ramesh Reddy, a fruit vendor at the fruits and vegetables market said, “The fruit market has become very competitive. With increasing awareness and health consciousness, there is a demand for different varieties of fruits in both retail and local markets.”

Seasonal fruits are often brought by dealers in local markets of villages and then sold to wholesalers who auction them at a higher price in the fruit market.

Another vendor, Mr Vishal Suri, said, “If the dealer has brought the fruits at a higher price then they dictate the terms in the market. Apart from this the demand and supply chain also plays a major role in determining the price. Organic stores claim to get them directly from the farms, which is another competition in the market. In comparison to organic and imported fruits, seasonal fruits are cheaper.” Nutritionist Dr D. Raghunathk said, “There is an emphasis on growing fruits consumed within the area as it suits the body type and also the total benefits of the nutritional values are available.”

( Source : dc correspondent )
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