Excessive amounts of Malathion, a general use pesticide, have been detected in a rice sample collected for inspection from the Food Corporation of India godown at Valiyathura here.

Traces of uric acid, indicating presence of pests, were also found in three to four samples, of a total of nine samples that were collected in raids conducted on August 1.

According to Food Safety officials, the presence of Malathion was detected during tests conducted at the Pesticide Residue Research and Analytical Laboratory of the Kerala Agricultural College at Vellayani here while traces of uric acid, which were in amounts that made the rice and wheat grains ‘unfit for consumption’, were found in tests at the Government Analyst Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram.

Officials said the FCI staff had admitted that they used pesticides such as Malathion, DDVP, and Deltamethrine to keep away pests.

“Apparently, the quantity they used was much above stipulated limits, which is why Malathion could be detected in the grains though it was sprayed over the sacks in which the grains are stored. The concentration was very high,” officials said.

The Food Safety Department will shortly submit a report on the issue to the State and Union governments. However, action might be initiated only after Onam, officials indicated, adding that more intensive raids and elaborate examination of samples would be taken up after Onam at the godown and other similar food grain storage installations in the capital district.

Incidentally, the raids on August 1, during which the contaminated samples were collected, had witnessed unruly scenes when FCI employees and loading workers refused to let the Food Safety officials in.

The raid was conducted after the Valiyathura police intervened and both the Food Safety Department and the police had booked cases in connection with the incident.