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Use bio-pesticides in tea production, FSSAI tells Assam growers, planters

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Guwahati, Jan 20: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) chief executive officer G Kamala Vardhana Rao interacted with tea growers and planters at Kellyden in Nagaon district on Friday and emphasised on adoption of bio-pesticides to ensure safety and quality of tea production.

The focal point of the interaction was enhancing traceability and testing measures for raw materials, emphasising the need for screening every batch for pesticide residue and adherence to maximum residue limits (MRL) of pesticides usage as prescribed in the Food Safety and Standards Regulations of 2011 (FSSR).

Rao also encouraged collaboration with the Tea Board for joint inspection, sampling and testing processes.

Key stakeholders, including officials from FSSAI, Tea Board, Tea Research Institute, industry associations and state food and drug department attended the programme.

Notably, FSSAI has extended financial aid to Assam for the upgrading laboratories dedicated to pesticide testing.

“The need for regular interaction with all stakeholders and the formulation of a time-bound action plan to guarantee the availability of safe tea to consumers was also stressed upon during the meeting,” an official statement issued on Friday said.

During the session, representatives from the Tea Board stressed on the significance of awareness campaigns among planters to educate them about the maintenance of a harvesting gap to ensure safe agricultural practices.

“Planters urged the state government to impose a ban on use of unauthorised pesticides in tea cultivation. Processors advocated for the provision of rapid testing kits at the farm-gate level to streamline pesticide testing,” the statement from FSSAI said.

“Scientific panel members engaged in detailed deliberations on specific pesticides, monitoring procedures and the prevention of off-label use,” it said.

 

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