Food safety

Delhi told to get tough after high pesticide levels found in produce

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pesticide, Vegetable

Delhi told to get tough after high pesticide levels found in produce
A government panel has called for stringent checks for pesticides in fruit and vegetables brought into Delhi after discovering that most of the produce it tested contained dangerous chemical residues.

The All India panel had been looking at the impact of pesticide residues on produce sold in the capital as a result of a demand by the High Court in August last year for the Centre to form a committee to frame a policy of periodic checks.

In its report, the panel found that most of the vegetables sourced from Delhi’s mandis – and especially okra, cabbage and cauliflower – were found to have pesticide residues higher than the maximum residue limit. Cypermethrin, chlorpyriphos were found to be the chemicals most often found in the city’s vegetables.

All produce checked

Sandhya Kulshrestha of the Central Health Education Board, and chair of the panel, said that checks had become essential.

"No fruit or vegetable consignment should be allowed to enter into the country without a pre-dispatch pesticide testing report by the exporter​,” said Kulshrestha.

Samples of imported fruits and vegetables should be drawn at international arrival points and monitored for pesticide residues. For this, guidelines may be drafted on a priority basis​," the panel said.

It also recommended that the Delhi government consider establishing a pesticide residue management cell. Under the control of the state’s food commissioner, it should be given the power to co-ordinate with other authorities and be responsible for handling all issues related to pesticide residue in food articles, the report said.

Call has its critics

However, critics like Kavita Kuruganti of the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Horticulture have dismissed the recommendations as well-meaning but ineffective.

They say that if Delhi goes ahead with the cell and more stringent testing, neighbouring states will have to fall in line first as the capital reduces almost all of its produce – including all the tainted fruit and veg tested by the panel – from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

"The government should appeal to neighboring states to invest in sustainable agricultural practices​,” Kuruganti told Times of India. “Farmers can wait till the effect of the pesticides wear out a little bit​. There are 'waiting periods' for each crop to avoid immediate consumption of pesticide-laced ones​.”

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2 comments

Look closer to home

Posted by RP,

India should look at their usage of pesticides and practice before worrying about testing imported produce.

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Pesticide Residues

Posted by Sajal Kumar,

Global awareness is the time of hours for such contaminants in the food items and consumables for the good health of human beings and to protect the natural environment of the globe

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