Fresh Fruit and Vegetables In Delhi Causing Alarm

March 15th, 2011
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables In Delhi Causing Alarm

It seems citizens in Delhi who go shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables are getting more than they bargained for. Not just that it can have a devastating effect on fertility.

Apparently, much of the fruit and vegetables being bought and sold in Delhi markets contain contaminants including four banned pesticides and even rat poison. The banned pesticides include chlordane which attacks the nervous system and produces other side effects such as dizziness and headaches; it also damages the liver and can cause infertility.

Pesticides have for a long time been used by farmers as a way of controlling insects and other pests. However they have also been used as a way of improving yield and ripen fruit. But over the last few decades, their use has been either banned or significantly reduced. It is therefore alarming that such chemicals are still found in the food chain.

The discovery in Delhi has now caused an order for farms to be checked and monitored. A lawyer told the Hindustan Times: “Let there be some reality check. We want to know what really is happening and how rampant it is.”

In the UK the use of pesticides and other chemicals has been banned for many years on both health and environmental grounds. In India, while the message is getting across, it appears to be a slow process. For instance, recent tests have shown that contamination is 750 times that of European standards.

Najmi Waziri, a Delhi government lawyer told the Hindustan Times:  “In Delhi, 11,000 samples have been tested over the last three years, leading to 1,344 prosecutions.”

The prosecutions however are in the main shopkeepers, which is why Chandra Bhushan, who heads food safety research at the Centre for Science and Environment asked: “What is the point of booking shopkeepers for pesticides when the real culprit are the farmers?”


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