Indian authority refutes reports claiming high pesticide residue on herbs, spices

The food safety regulator stated that the maximum limit is fixed differently for different food commodities based on their risk assessments


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Published: Sun 5 May 2024, 12:14 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 May 2024, 12:42 PM

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) refuted media reports claiming that it allowed higher pesticide residues in herbs and spices.

The food safety regulator stated on a press note that the reports were "false and malicious", asserting that India has one of the most stringent standards of Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) in the world. The statement also added that MRLs of pesticides are fixed differently for different food commodities based on their risk assessments.

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In India, pesticides are regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA and FW) through Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee (CIB and RC) constituted under Insecticide Act,1968.

The CIB and RC regulate the manufacturing, import, transport, storage of pesticides and accordingly the Pesticides are registered/banned/restricted.

The Scientific Panel on Pesticides Residues of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) examines the data received through CIB and RC and recommends the MRLs after performing risk assessment. According to FSSAI, this is in consideration of the dietary consumption of Indian population and health concerns in respect of all age groups.

Total pesticides registered by CIB and RC in India are more than 295 out of which 139 pesticides are registered for use in spices. Codex has adopted total 243 pesticides out of which 75 pesticides are applicable for spices.

A pesticide is registered on many food commodities with different MRLs based on risk assessment data. For instance, the use of Monocrotophos is allowed on many crops with different MRLs such as Rice at 0.03 mg/kg, Citrus fruits at 0.2 mg/kg, Coffee beans at 0.1 mg/kg and Cardamom 0.5 mg/kg, Chilli at 0.2 mg/kg.

"The MRLs are dynamic in nature and regularly revised based on the scientific data. This practice is aligned with global standards and ensures that MRL revisions are made on a scientifically valid basis, reflecting the latest findings and international norms," FSSAI said.


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