Pesticides in veg: HC orders random purchase, lab testing

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 18:35

New Delhi: Concerned over reports of
rampant use of banned pesticides in fruits and vegetables, the
Delhi High Court today asked the Centre and the city
government to conduct tests in approved laboratories after
procuring vegetables "randomly" from various places.

"We would like to find out as to whether pesticides
are there in the vegetables sold in Delhi or not. It would be
appropriate that the vegetables be purchased randomly and sent
for the test at laboratories, certified by National
Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories," a
bench headed by Chief Justice Deepak Mishra said.

The court asked Additional Solicitor General A S
Chandiok, standing counsel for Delhi government Najmi Waziri,
Delhi Legal Services Authority member secretary Asha Menon and
others to go together for purchasing vegetables from different
shops or `mandis` in the national capital.

The bench also allowed two representatives of NGO
Consumer Voice to accompany the lawyers.

"A report, after the tests, be submitted before this
court within five weeks from today," the bench said.

It said the tests be conducted at laboratories at
Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) or other places
which were approved by NABL.

Earlier, the court had taken suo motu cognizance of a
news report about rampant use of banned pesticides in
vegetables and fruits, putting the lives of consumers at risk.

The report, quoting a study on use of banned
pesticides, conducted by NGO Consumer Voice said the amount of
pesticides used in India was as much as 750 times the European
standards.

Out of five internationally banned pesticides, four
were found to be common in vegetables and fruits, it said.
These pesticides cause headache and affect fertility
and can damage the kidney and liver, the report said.

"It is difficult to perceive how the community would
react to such a situation when it is asserted that there has
been an authentic research which shows that vegetables and
fruits have become highly toxic because of the process of
growing and preservation," the bench had then observed.

The NGO said the tests conducted on vegetables at
the government-approved and NABL-accredited laboratory
revealed that the Indian ladies finger contained captain, a
toxic pesticide, up to 15,000 parts per billion (ppb).

The vegetables covered by the study included potato,
tomato, snake gourd, pumpkin, cabbage, cucumber and bottle
gourd, among others.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 18:35

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