Despite Following Organic Farming, Pesticides in Indian Foods Seldom Detected at EU Borders

India faced 31 border rejections out of 200 RASFF notifications (both alerts and border rejections) from 5 to 25 January 2016 and from 28 January to 09 February 2016. Two of these notifications were due to excessive pesticide contents, one in the product category: ‘herbs and spices’ (chilli peppers) and one in: ‘fruits and vegetables’ (chilled okras). According to these notifications, the hot chilli pepper sample from India contained fipronil (0.3 mg/kg) and unallowed monocrotophos (0.06 mg/kg). In chilled okras sample from India, triazophos (0.82 mg/kg) was detected. It is worth mentioning that monocrotophos is an unauthorised substance according to EU food laws, while Indian food law allows it in various food products with varying limits. In fruits for sale in India, monocrotophos might be present up to 1.0 parts per million (ppm), except for citrus fruits—maximum residue limit (MRL): 0.2 ppm—and in chillies up to 0.2 ppm. Therefore, chillies containing 0.06 ppm or even up to 0.2 ppm of monocrotophos will pass for sale in India, but not a trace of monocrotophos will pass for sale at EU borders. In addition, triazophos is allowed in India for chillies up to 0.2 ppm, rice up to 0.05 ppm, cottonseed oil up to 0.1 ppm, and soybean oil up to 0.05 ppm. On the contrary, it is not allowed in okras in India.

Aflatoxins in Indian Chilli. The Situation at EU Borders

Four of the 31 Indian food samples rejected at EU borders from 5 to 25 January 2016 and from 28 January to 09 February 2016 (200 total notification) belong to the estimation of aflatoxins above permissible limits; three are referred to chilli samples in the ‘herbs and spices’ category, and one concerns the ‘nuts, nut products and seeds category’. Among three chilli samples, one was containing both aflatoxins and ochratoxin above MRL. The matter of aflatoxins in Indian spices, particularly chilli samples, has been an issue at EU borders.

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