The FSSAI has issued an order dated 12 October 2018 which is related to testing of the herbicide Glyphosate in pulses. The FSSAI has stated that there is a possibility of higher levels of residues of the herbicide “Glyphosate” in pulses which could adversely affect the health of consumers. Therefore the FSSAI has directed the Authorised Officers to instruct laboratories to test for the presence of herbicide ‘Glyphosate” along with other parameters when the samples for pulses are forwarded for testing. The data collected by the Regional Offices regarding the presence of Glyphosate in pulses must be shared with FSSAI HQ New Delhi after every 15 days.
It may be noted that the MRL for Glyphosate in pulses has not been specified in the FSSAI regulations. So presently the FSSAI has given the following MRL for Glyphosate which is as specified in the Codex standards. This MRL will also be taken into consideration for the purpose of import clearance.
|1.||Beans (dry)||2 mg/Kg|
|2.||Lentil (dry)||5 mg/Kg|
|3.||Peas (dry)||5 mg/Kg|
|4.||Soya bean (dry)||20 mg/Kg|
Further, The FSSAI has recommended that the Codex may be viewed from time to time for an upgrade in MRL of Glyphosate in Pulses.
About Glyphosate in Pulses
Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide that is also one of the largest selling herbicide in the world. Till 2015 the herbicide was considered to be safe but it was only in 2015 that the World Health Organisation’s IARC classified Glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, In India, it seems that Glyphosate is being used as a pre-harvest desiccant in several crops resulting in high residues in food. Glyphosate is considered to be highly toxic and dangerous for human health. When ingested in larger quantities it can affect immunity to serious diseases and also absorption of mineral and vitamin nutrients.
India is one of the biggest producers of pulses but in recent years it has begun to import pulses from Canada, Australia, and Myanmar. According to Indian-born Canadian food security activist Santanu (Tony) Mitra, Australian moong dal and Canadian masoor dal contain high residues of Glyphosate. Mitra has been fighting legal battles with the Canadian Government for the release of safety document and testing of Glyphosate in all food items. Food safety and agricultural scientists are warning that the use of glyphosate may prove dangerous as in Sri Lanka, where many sugarcane farmers died due to renal failure after being overexposed to the herbicide. Mitra thinks that the Indian diet might have become overly contaminated from imported pulses. The pulses need to be tested for glyphosate residue at every entry point which is not being carried out presently. It is for all these reasons that the FSSAI has now ordered testing samples for Glyphosate residues along with other parameters. The same is applicable to imported pulses also.
(with inputs from agencies)