Through an order dated 11 September 2019, the FSSAI has issued directions for testing of pesticides like Acetamiprid, Dithiocarbamates and Prochloraz in imported Black Pepper before clearance. Black Pepper is tested according to the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products, Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 and the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations, 2011 to ensure that it is in compliance with standards as prescribed in these regulations.
The Spice Board of India has recently recommended that Black Pepper requires additional testing of pesticides like Acetamiprid, Dithiocarbamates and Prochloraz in imported Black Pepper consignments. According to the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Amendment Regulations, 2018 the Maximum Permitted Limits (MRLs) of these pesticides have not been prescribed, so the FSSAI has prescribed tolerance limit of 0.01mg/kg and this MRL shall apply to the testing of residues for the pesticides mentioned above.
The FSSAI has also directed all Authorised Officers to give instructions to the testing laboratories to carry out the three additional pesticide residue testing when they forward samples of Black Pepper for testing of imported consignments. Pesticide testing for Acetamiprid, Dithiocarbamates and Prochloraz shall become effective from 01 January 2020 and MRL will be 0.01mg/kg.
About Pesticide Residues
Pesticides are chemicals used to control insects and fungal infections in agriculture produce.
Acetamiprid is generally used to protect plants against insects such as aphids but is also used as a household pesticide against bed bugs.
Dithiocarbamates are a broad chemical class including fungicides
Prochloraz is an imidazole fungicide that is widely used in gardening and agriculture to control the growth of fungi. It is sold by several brand names.
Besides being a major source of environmental pollutant, human exposure to these chemical pesticides through food, is considered to be higher than through other sources like air and drinking water. It is for this reason that all agricultural produce is subject to constant pesticide monitoring since residues are considered a public health risk. In India all foods including agricultural produce, fruits and vegetables require testing to ensure compliance of MRLs as prescribed in the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations, 2011.