FSSAI terms reports of allowing 10x more MRL in herbs, spices ‘baseless’

NEW DELHI: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Sunday denied reports in a section of media, claiming that it permitted higher pesticide residues in herbs and spices.

In a press statement, the FSSAI called the reports “false and malicious” and emphasised that India has one of the most stringent Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) standards in the world.

It also mentioned that the MRLs of pesticides are established differently for various food commodities based on their risk assessments.

The Centre’s clarification comes after the Hong Kong food regulator banned particular spice blends from two prominent Indian brands — MDH and Everest, due to reported residues of pesticide ethylene oxide in their samples.

Pesticide regulation in India is managed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, through the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee. This organisation was established under the Insecticide Act of 1968 to supervise the manufacturing, import, transportation, and storage of pesticides, as well as their registration, banning, or restriction.

The FSSAI’s Scientific Panel on Pesticides Residues works closely with the Committee and conducts comprehensive risk assessments on data to recommend appropriate MRLs. The Committee have registered more than 295 pesticides to date, of which 139 are specifically approved for use in spices.


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