Health

Kerala university finds toxins in 11% vegetables labelled organic

553 samples, including fruits, vegetables and spices, were collected from 7 districts in the state by Kerala Agriculture University at Vellayani in Thiruvananthapuram 

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 19 November 2018
Fruits and veggies
No pesticide residue was found in the fruits tested. Credit: Getty Images No pesticide residue was found in the fruits tested. Credit: Getty Images

A recent lab tests on vegetables conducted by Kerala Agriculture University at Vellayani in Thiruvananthapuram showed that toxic chemicals were detected in 11.2 per cent of the vegetables labelled as ‘organic’.

The Pesticide Residue Analytical Laboratory (PRAL) of the university detected traces of banned chemicals in vegetables. No pesticide residue was found in the fruits. 553 samples, including fruits, vegetables and spices, collected from Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kannur and Kozhikode districts. The vegetable samples were collected from January to June 2018.  Although the samples collected from eco-shops didn’t have residues of chemicals, 5.4 per cent of vegetables was found to have pesticide residues.

Residues of difenoconazole and imidachloprid, bifenthrin, chlorpyriphos and profenophos were detected in beetroot, chilly, coriander leaves, curry leaves and mint leaves, . A media report quoted an official saying most of the samples were collected from the open market. He added that since most vegetables were not grown here, tracing their origin was a difficult task.

Samples of red amaranth, beans, green chilly, cucumber, snake gourd and cowpea sold with organic label were collected from organic vegetable outlets. In ajowan and Kashmir chilli, residues of hazardous chemicals were detected.

Since 18 toxic pesticides had been banned in the state since 2011, this development has come as a shock to many.  KAU said it has already taken initiatives to conduct training programmes for farmers of cardamom, which had residues of a harmful chemical. 

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