INDIA – In a move towards harmonizing food safety standards, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an order concerning maximum residue limits (MRLs) for pesticides in spices and culinary herbs.

This directive brings India’s regulations in line with Codex Alimentarius guidelines and the MRLs adopted by key global players such as the U.S., the EU, Japan, and Australia/New Zealand.

India’s existing Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues) Regulation of 2011 already outlines MRLs for various food commodities, including spices and culinary herbs.

However, due to a lack of field trial data, many pesticides do not have established MRLs specifically for these categories. The data received through the Indian Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare’s Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (MAFW’s CIBRC), as well as the Monitoring of Pesticide Residues and National Level (MPRNL) scheme, inform these regulations.

Under the recent order by FSSAI, for pesticides registered with CIBRC and with established MRLs by Codex, the corresponding Codex MRLs will be adopted. In cases where Codex does not specify MRLs, a default value of 0.1 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) will apply for spices and culinary herbs.

The alignment of India’s pesticide residue limits with international standards carries significant implications for food safety and trade.

By adhering to globally recognized MRLs, India ensures the quality and safety of its exported spices and culinary herbs while facilitating smoother trade relations with partner countries.

The move also addresses the regulatory gaps concerning pesticide residues in spices and culinary herbs, a sector where comprehensive field trial data has been lacking.

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