Panel wants cell in Delhi on pesticide residue in food

New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The Delhi government can establish a pesticide residue management cell (PRMC) on issues related to pesticide residue in food articles, an expert committee told the Delhi High Court Wednesday.

The committee, comprising experts and government officials, filed a report before a division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice Jayant Nath and suggested that pesticide residue testing infrastructure with the city government needed strengthening.

The court had earlier directed the experts’ committee to submit a report suggesting guidelines to prevent rampant use of banned pesticides in vegetables and fruits.

As per the recommendations of the committee: “The monitoring of pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables sold in Delhi should be intensifies in the public interest.”

“The Delhi government may consider establishing a Pesticide Residue Management Cell (PRMC) under the control of food commissioner of the state. This cell shall co-ordinate with other authorities and be responsible for handling all issues related to pesticide residue in food articles,” it said.

The government’s existing testing infrastructure should be strengthened by “additional working space, skilled and trained manpower and sophisticated equipment for smooth and efficient functioning of laboratory. The laboratory capacity is presently under utilised,” the report said.

The court Aug 17 last year had sought a report from the committee for framing a policy for periodic checks to detect pesticide residue in vegetables that pose health hazards.

NGO Consumer Voice’s report found that 35 varieties of vegetables and fruits, picked from Delhi markets and tested for pesticide content, had toxins beyond the permissible limits.

It had told the court that vegetables and fruits sold in the city’s markets contained poisons capable of causing cancer and harming the nervous system and liver.

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