THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government is understood to have ordered the Commissionerate of Food Safety to stop collecting vegetable samples from markets and checkposts.
This is set to upset the ongoing fight of the Commissionerate against toxic and dangerous fruits and vegetables coming from other states.
Sources say that the inter-state relations between Tamil Nadu and Kerala may turn murky if the food safety authorities pursue their campaign to prevent the flow of polluted vegetables. The collection of statutory samples at checkposts has come down drastically recently.
The Crop Care Federation of India had come out strongly against the move of the Kerala government and has filed a case against four food safety officials, including the Commissioner of Food Safety.
“There was tension on Tamil Nadu border since we took the decision to block vegetable-laden trucks for sample collection. The pesticide lobby is too strong and it may instigate this tension and the situation might blow out of proportion. We have no plans to stop our drive and for the time being we have slowed down a bit so that the situation doesn’t worsen further,” said the source.
However, Commissioner of Food Safety T.V. Anupama claimed that they haven’t stopped sample collection.
“Last month we collected statutory samples from Palakkad and Idukki checkposts. The residue lab at Kerala Agricultural University has handed over the results of the statutory samples collected by us. The presence of pesticide residue is still there but most of them are new generation pesticides. But unfortunately we won’t be able to initiate action as the permissible limits of new generation pesticides are yet to be fixed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI),” said Ms Anupama.
The results have been forwarded to the analytical laboratories under the Commissionerate for further scrutiny, she said.