The government on Friday said it will look at recommendations of an expert committee before further restricting the usage of Monocrotophos pesticide — which was found in the mid-day meal served in a Bihar school and led to the death of 23 children.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha that a committee has already been set up to review the usage of the pesticide and based on its suggestion, further action would be taken.

The pesticide — the presence of which in the mid-day meal was confirmed in a forensic report — has been described as highly toxic by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation.

Mr. Pawar said that keeping in view the hazaradous nature of the pesticide, the Government had appointed three committees in the past.

The first committee, set up in 1993, recommended the continuous use of the pesticide. The second panel in 1995 had prescribed restriction on its use on vegetables. The third had suggested complete ban on its usage on vegetables.

“Use of Monocrotophos has accordingly been banned on vegetables. However, its use on crops like cotton, paddy, maize, pulses, sugarcane, coconut, coffee, etc is still allowed, keeping in view its bio-efficacy and cost effectiveness,” Mr. Pawar added.

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