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India Has Severe Standards For Pesticide Buildup Limits: FSSAI



The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has dismissed media reports that it allows 10 times more pesticide residues in herbs and spices.

The Food Safety Authority issued a press release calling the reports "false and harmful" and claiming that India has one of the strictest residue limits in the world and that pesticide residue limits are set differently for different foods based on their risk assessments.

"Few news sources claim that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) permits 10 times more pesticide residues in herbs and spices. Such reports are false and harmful," FSSAI said in a press release.

The Centre's clarification comes after Hong Kong's Food Regulatory Authority banned certain spice mixes from two well-known Indian brands - MDH and Everest, following reports of traces of the pesticide ethylene oxide in their samples.

Regulation of pesticides in India is administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare through the Central Pest Control Board and the Registration Committee. This organization was established under the Pesticides Act of 1968 to control the manufacture, importation, transport, and storage of pesticides and their registration, prohibition, or restriction.

FSSAI Pesticide Residue Science Board works closely with the Committee and conducts comprehensive risk analyses of the data to recommend appropriate MRLs. The Committee has so far registered more than 295 pesticides, of which 139 are specifically approved for use in spices.

Notably, on April 4 it claimed that FSSAI allowed 10 times more pesticide residues in herbs and spices. Citing an order issued on April 8, the report said FSSAI had raised the maximum residue limit (MRL) of the pesticide in herbs and spices from 0.1 mg/kg to 0.01 mg/kg earlier.

The report further stated that the regulator referred to "various proposals" to increase the MRL. Shambhavi Anand's report was echoed by almost every other media outlet, leading to social media outrage against FSSAI and the government during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. 

But now FSSAI has clarified that it has not issued such an order to increase pesticide residues in herbs and spices. FSSAI countered the argument for increasing the limit to 0.1 mg/kg from the earlier 0.01 mg/kg that the residue limits are different for different food products and it is not uniform for all products as suggested in the report

For example, Monocrotophos is allowed for many crops with different MRLs such as rice 0.03 mg/kg, citrus fruits 0.2 mg/kg, coffee beans 0.1 mg/kg, and cardamom 0.5 mg/kg, Chilli 0.2 mg/kg. 

FSSAI added that the MRL of 0.01 mg/kg applies to pesticides for which MRLs have not been specified. This limit has been increased to 0.1 mg/kg only for spices and applicable only for those pesticides not registered by CIB and RC in India.

One pesticide/insecticide is used on more than 10 crops with different MRLs. For example, Flubendiamide is used in Brinjal with an MRL of 0.1, while Bengal Gram has an MRL of 1.0 mg/kg, Cabbage 4 mg/kg, Tomato 2 mg/kg, and Tea 50 mg/kg. Similarly, monocrotophos for food grains with an MRL of 0.03 mg/kg, 0.2 mg/kg for citrus fruits, 2 mg/kg for dry chili, and 0.5 mg/kg for cardamom.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not corpseed, and have not been evaluated by corpseed for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.


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