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India imposes one of the most stringent quality control standards: FSSAI

May 05,2024

New Delhi: A day after several media reports allegedly claimed that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has allowed 10 times more pesticide residue in herbs and spices, the regulatory body in its first public response called those reports as false and malicious. Clarifying that India has one of the most stringent standards of Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) the regulator cited that MRLs of pesticides are fixed differently for different food commodities based on their risk assessments.

Pesticides are regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA & FW) through the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee (CIB & RC) constituted under the Insecticide Act,1968. The CIB & RC regulate the manufacturing, import, transport, storage of pesticides and accordingly the Pesticides are registered/banned/restricted by CIB and RC.

“The scientific panel on pesticides residues of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) examines the data received through CIB & RC and recommends the MRLs after performing risk assessment considering the dietary consumption of Indian population and health concerns in respect of all age groups,” the statement said.

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

Comparing the quality standards the regulatory body said, “One pesticide/insecticide is used in more than 10 crops with different MRLs. For example, Flubendiamide is used in brinjal with an MRL of 0.1 whereas for bengal gram the MRL is 1.0 mg/kg, for cabbage 4 mg/kg, for tomato 2 mg/kg and for tea it is 50 mg/kg. Similarly, monocrotophos used for food grains with MRLs at 0.03 mg/kg, for citrus fruits 0.2 mg/kg, for dried chilli it is 2 mg/kg and for cardamom 0.5 mg/kg.”

“The MRLs fixed by CODEX for Myclobutanil used for chilli is 20 mg/kg whereas the limit set by FSSAI is 2 mg/kg. For Spiromesifen, used for chilli, codex limit is 5 mg/kg whereas FSSAI limit is 1 mg/kg. Similarly, codex standards for Metalaxyl and Metalaxyl-M used for black pepper is 2 mg/kg whereas the limit set by FSSAI is 0.5 mg/kg/,” FSSAI added in the statement.

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 and FSSAI aligns with the updated standards of MRLs set by Codex Alimentarius Commission and (International Food Safety and Quality Standard setting body created by WHO and FAO of UN) and the European Union.

Source: Healthworld

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