New Delhi: Members of Rajya Sabha expressed serious concern on Tuesday, over the harmful effects of adulteration and pesticides in food products including milk, vegetables and fruits, with the government saying it is working to ensure there is one food testing lab in each state.
While AIADMK member Vijila Sathyananth said some apples she had bought recently had "wax" in them, several others voiced concern over the quality of food products and linked adulteration and pesticides with deadly diseases like cancer.
After the members raised concerns during Question Hour, Health Minister J P Nadda said the Centre was trying to strengthen the capacity to tackle this issue.
According to the Agriculture Ministry, about three per cent samples picked up from various Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) markets, local markets, farm gate, organic outlets and public distribution systems had Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) above the prescribed levels, he said.
However, samples of fruits and vegetables drawn from Food Business Operators by states and UTs during 2014-15 and 2015-16, when tested, were not found to contain pesticides above MRLs notified by FSSAI, the minister said in his written reply.
The Centre, he said, was working to ensure that every state has at least one testing laboratory while there are two such laboratories in every big state. He said the government was working on augmenting the laboratory facilities, training, surveillance and capacity building.
Nadda also said that while the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India laid down the norms, it was for state food commissioners to implement them.
Replying to supplementaries, the minister also said there were 112 NABL accredited labs in the country and overall 198 food testing laboratories.