Through a letter dated 11th January 2021 FSSAI has provided clarification regarding Tolerance Limit in cases of insecticides for which MRLs have not been fixed. FSSAI has drawn attention to the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations 2011
In this regulation in sub-regulation 2.3.1 “Restriction on the use of insecticides” the Maximum residue Limits (MRLs) of 213 insecticides in various foods are provided in the table along with a Note below the table which is as follows
[Note: Tolerance limit of 0.01 mg/kg shall apply in cases of pesticides for which MRL have not been fixed.]
The FSSAI has clarified that the MRLs of 213 insecticides given in the said Table and the Tolerance Limit of 0.01 mg/kg mentioned in the Note pertains to agricultural commodities and the resultant physically processed foods only. The said MRLs and Tolerance Limits do not apply to thermally and chemically processed foods.
About pesticides in foods
Pesticide residues are present in agro-ecosystems and so they pose a risk to human health through exposure to residues in primary and processed agricultural products. Pesticide residues in food products can cause health hazards like headaches and nausea or to more serious impacts like cancer, birth defects, infertility, and endocrine disruption. Agricultural produce that has undergone decontamination process shows reduced levels of pesticides, however, the decrease depends on the initial concentration at the time of harvest, type of food and type of pesticide used.
Various techniques of processing have an effect on the pesticide levels of foods. Thermal processing treatments like pasteurization, blanching, boiling, cooking, steaming, canning, scrambling, have been found to reduce various pesticides in foods, depending upon the type of pesticide and length of treatment. Preserving foods through drying or dehydration however, increase the pesticide content in foods due to concentration effect. Milling, baking, wine making, malting and brewing show lower levels of pesticide residues in the end products.
Source : FSSAI