THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Do not eat vegetables and fruits bought from the public markets thinking that they are healthy and safe. They are not. Green grapes, apples, spices and vegetables contain banned pesticides, according to a report by the Kerala Agriculture University's Pesticide Residue Research and Analytical Laboratory (PRRAL).
The KAU scientists have advised consumers to wash cumin and fennel seeds before use to get rid of pesticide residues.
Out of 729 food samples collected from public markets during January- June 2019, 17.55 per cent had pesticide residues, including vegetables, fruits and spices. “This is likely to cause health and environmental issues,” said the report.
In the fruit samples collected from public markets, green grapes were laced with eight pesticides, including profenofos, which has been banned in Kerala. The only permitted pesticide is carbendazim. In the apple samples, three pesticides were found. But the grapes, apples and papaya collected directly from farmers, organic and eco shops did not show pesticide residue.
Cumin and fennel seeds bought from public markets contained eight varieties of pesticides like clorpirifos, cyfluthrin, carbendazim, acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiomethoxam and cuinalphos.
But fenugreek, wheat and rice did not have any trace of pesticides.
A KAU scientist told DC that the use of pesticides has not been approved in cumin and fennel seeds. Certain pesticides approved in some vegetables/fruits/spices cannot be used in others.
But the farmers who cultivate these spices in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan use banned pesticides....