Court orders random tests on vegetables for pesticides

 A Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked Additional Solicitor General A S Chandiok, Delhi government’s standing counsel Najmi Waziri, Delhi Legal Services Authority member secretary Asha Menon and others to go together to different shops at the market for purchasing vegetables for the purpose.

“We would like to find out as to whether pesticides are there in the vegetables sold in Delhi or not. It would be appropriate that the vegetables be purchased randomly and sent for the test at laboratories, certified by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL),” the Court said in a recent order.

It also asked two representatives of NGO Consumer Voice to accompany the lawyers.

The Court directed that a report be submitted to it after the tests at laboratories at Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) or other places which were approved by NABL, within five weeks. The court had acted taking suo motu cognisance of a news report about rampant use of banned pesticides in vegetables and fruits, jeopardising the lives of consumers and public at large.

The report, quoting a study on use of banned pesticides, conducted by NGO Consumer Voice said the amount of pesticides used in India was as much as 750 times the European standards. Out of five internationally banned pesticides, four were found to be common in vegetables and fruits, it said.

These pesticides caused headache and affected fertility, besides causing damage to the kidney and liver, the report had said.

The vegetables covered by the study included potato, tomato, snake gourd, pumpkin, cabbage, cucumber and bottle gourd, among others.

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