Results of analysis will be made public for consumer awareness
The Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) will start testing rice, vegetables, meat and fish for contaminants, including pesticide residue, and make the results public for consumer awareness, beginning next month.
It will be the first time in Kerala that vegetables, fish and meat will be extensively tested for poisonous residues and results made public.
A senior official of Supplyco, which has around 1,400 provisions stores and vegetables and fruits outlets across Kerala, said that the process for testing samples at the Council for Food Research and Development (CFRD) laboratory in Konni, had been set in motion.
He said that random sample collection will begin next month and that the results should be out within a fortnight of that. Broad-based testing of vegetables, fruits, fish and meat has been a long-standing demand, considering that Kerala depends on its neighbours for the bulk of its food requirements, including rice. Tests on rice samples will ensure that the customers get the best quality produce.
Kerala requires more than eight lakh tonnes of vegetables daily, of which nearly four lakh tonnes are produced within the State.
The rest of the supplies comes from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Director of CFRD M. K. Mukundan said that Supplyco had approached the laboratory with the proposal for testing vegetables and other samples and the laboratory at Konni, in Pathanamthitta district, is equipped to do all the tests. Testing of the major food samples is part of the corporation’s preparations to meet Food Safety and Standards Act stipulations.
The corporation is also building 63 new godowns with a combined capacity of three lakh tonnes at the district and taluk headquarters.
The godowns, expected to cost around Rs.180 crore, will be sufficient to store food items for three months. There will be 14 godowns at the district headquarters and 49 at the taluk levels.
The godown project has been handed over to the government-owned consultancy Kitco for implementation and most of the new facilities will come up on government land.