FSSAI Refutes Claims Of Pesticide Residues In Herbs & Spices
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With major Indian spice brands under the scanner globally for the use of toxic chemicals in their blends, recent reports claimed that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) allowed ten times more pesticide residue levels in herbs and spices. Dismissing them as ‘false and malicious’, the regulatory body maintained that it follows a stringent method of Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) of pesticides. Based on the type of food product and an assessment of risk, the MRLs for pesticides are fixed differently.

With a registered number of 295 pesticides, 139 have been approved for the use in manufacturing spices depending on the varying MRLs of each kind of crop, as per Codex standards. Further stating that its Scientific Panel on Pesticide Residues evaluated data provided by the CIB&RC to determine the right percentage of these MRLs for food commodities, that includes spices. Since pesticides are categorised to be under the supervision of the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare, dietary habits and health concerns across various age groups are also taken into account.

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Raising the MRL from 0.1mg per kilogram from what was previously 0.01mg per kilogram in an order issued on the 8th of April, the FSSAI clarified that the limit was increased only in the case of spices and applicable for pesticides that weren’t registered by the CIB&RC in India – thus allowing them to be used in imported products. Following the detection of the carcinogenic ethylene oxide in MDH and Everest masalas, the presence of the foodborne salmonella was also found to be prevalent in these products.