Government to fix max residue limit for fruits and vegetables
Feb 23, 2018-
The government has begun work to fix the maximum residue limit (MRL) for locally grown and imported fruits and vegetables in a bid to ensure that contaminated products that pose a risk to human health do not reach the market.
A multilateral meeting of government agencies held by the Commerce Ministry on Thursday decided to direct the Ministry of Agriculture Development to implement the MRL on farm products. The MRL is the maximum amount of pesticide deposits remaining on food products.
The meeting also decided to formulate policies and develop infrastructure to discourage sales of agro products contaminated with chemical residues.
Pesticides are used to protect crops from insects, weeds and fungi. Pesticides are potentially toxic to humans and can have both acute and chronic health effects, depending on the quantity and ways in which a person is exposed. Some of the older and cheaper pesticides can remain for years in the soil and water.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are more than 1000 pesticides used around the world to ensure food is not damaged or destroyed by pests. Each pesticide has different properties and toxicological effects.
In 2014, the international organisation issued an International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management to provide guidelines to government regulators, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders on best practices in managing pesticides throughout their lifecycle, from production to disposal.
Apart for fixing the MRL, the government has decided to open at least one quarantine check point in each of the seven provinces. The check points will monitor the import of vegetable, fruits, seeds and livestock related products. “The check points will be well equipped with experts and technology,” the Commerce Ministry said in a press statement. In addition, the government has planned to implement Good Agricultural Practices on both locally produced and imported food items. It will also regulate the food business by requiring operators to obtain certification under integrated pest management.
“If any enterprise violates the government standards on chemical traces on traded food, the concerned government bodies will be authorised to seize such products,” the ministry said.
Published: 23-02-2018 09:08