Informing this in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Minister of State for Agriculture .Sanjeev Kumar Balyan said no residues of banned pesticides have been detected in any of the samples collected under this program.
He, however, said there have been reports in media about use of toxic substances like calcium carbide and oxytocin for early ripening of fruits and vegetables which, according to food safety and standards regulations are prohibited for sale.
However, use of ethylene gas in low concentration exogenously to trigger ripening of fruits is considered safe, he said.
The minister said the Commissioners of Food Safety/Food (Health) Authority of States/UTs who are responsible for implementation of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 and its Rules/Regulations in their States/UTs have been requested to keep a strict vigil on and take legal action against use of carbide gas and other hazardous chemicals for ripening of fruits.
The State Governments have also been advised to educate the public through mass electronic media against consumption of such artificially ripened fruits. Balyan said.
During 2011-2014, out of 25,664 vegetable samples, 764 (2.9 per cent) samples were found to contain pesticide residues above the maximum permissible residues level (MRL). Out of 7,501 fruits samples, the residues above MRL were detected in 88 (1.1 per cent ) samples. However, none of the banned pesticides were detected., he informed.
The Registration Committee constituted under the provisions of the Insecticides Act, 1968 registers pesticides only after establishing their safety to human, animal and environmental health. Technical reviews are carried out from time to time and continued use of pesticides is permitted only if found safe, Balyan said.
The Central Govt. through Central Integrated Pest Management Centres of Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage as well as State Department of Agriculture conduct Farmers Field Schools and awareness campaign through print media, electronic media and hoardings, sensitizing farmers regarding safe and judicious use of pesticides, use of bio-pesticides/ bio-fertilizers etc., he said.
The minister also informed that a ‘Grow Safe Food’ campaign has been initiated to carry the message of safe and judicious use of pesticides to farmers and other stakeholders. A simple message on the five essential principles of judicious pesticide use - application of pesticides on the right crop, against pests for which the pesticide has been approved, at the right time, in approved doses, and as per approved method of application - is sought to be conveyed through hoardings and banners in regional languages in Gram Panchayats and rural areas, Balyan added.