The pesticide residue in vegetables in the State markets has come downdrastically, according to a report published by the Kerala AgriculturalUniversity (KAU).
The report based on pesticide residue analysis conducted at the NationalAccreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited laboratory at the College of Agriculture, Vellayani, said that nohazardous element was found in samples collected from farmers’ fields andvegetable vendors across the State.
The report pertaining to April to June 2016 certified that not only the vegetables produced by Kerala farmers but also those brought from across the State were also found safe to eat.
Only one of the 22 samples collected from farmers’ fields in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had been found to contain residue of a pesticide but it was well below the permissible limits. This shows that the impact of pesticide residue analysis and public awareness had proved successful in curbing indiscreet pesticide application.
The produce from Kasaragod, the lone district declared as organic, has been found completely safe and devoid of any hazardous chemicals.
Thomas Biju Mathew, Professor and Head, Pesticide Residue Analytical Laboratory, said that residues were also undetected in vegetable samples from shops in different districts. Though residues were found in very few samples of curry leaf, salad cucumber, chilly and cauliflower, the percentage of presence was well below permissible levels. With regard to fruits, it was found that avocado contained some residues, but below permissible levels.
Out of the several samples of condiments tested, only one sample of cardamom was found to contain residues above the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) permissible levels. Though traces of hazardous chemicals were found in chilli powder, dried chilli and fenugreek, it was below the permissible level, he said. The decreased incidence of pesticide residue in vegetables and condiments is attributed to the increased public awareness about the hazards of consuming products contaminated with pesticide residues.
The KAU has been publishing periodical reports on analysis of samples collected from open market and farmers’ fields. The pesticide residue analytical lab at Vellayani is the only public sector laboratory with national accreditation.Farmers can get their produce tested at this lab free-of-cost, if they submit the samples with a certificate from the agricultural officer concerned.