The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued directions to all Commissioners of Food Safety of all States and UTs to monitor sale of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in Markets. This notice is dated 24th July, 2023.
The notice states that in response to concerning media reports highlighting the presence of pesticides and harmful chemicals in vegetables and fruits sold in major cities across India, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo-moto cognizance of the issue. The excessive use of pesticides by farmers has also caught the attention of NHRC, leading them to direct measures to minimize pesticide risks and promote alternative cultivation systems.
To combat the menace of pesticide overuse during the pre-marketing treatment of fruits and vegetables, authorities are now taking proactive steps to address the situation. A request has been made to the respective States and Union Territories (UTs) to maintain strict vigilance on Food Business Operators (FBOs) involved in manufacturing, repacking, and selling fresh, surface-treated, and minimally processed fruits & vegetables.
In a notice dated 24th July 2023, it has been emphasized that compliance with the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues) Regulation, 2011, and its subsequent amendments is of utmost importance. Authorities are urged to undertake surveillance and enforcement activities regularly to ensure that the fruits and vegetables available in the market meet the safety standards set by the regulations.
Moreover, to raise awareness among both Food Business Operators and consumers, efforts are being made through the Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) activities under the Eat Right India Initiative. These activities will be conducted in fruits and vegetable markets, commonly known as Mandis, to educate stakeholders about the issues surrounding pesticide contamination and its potential health risks.