Food safety lab machines inaugurated

The government is taking steps to strengthen the laboratory facilities for checking for the presence of pesticides and other heavy metals and lead, in all food items, including fruits and vegetables across the State, Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar has said.

Inaugurating the Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry machines installed in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam Government Analysis Labs (GAL) here on Thursday, Mr. Sivakumar said that the GC-MS machine would be installed at the GAL in Kozhikode.

A sum of Rs.1 crore had been allocated for purchasing Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) machines for detecting trace metals and arsenic in food at the labs at Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam, he said.

Food Safety offices were being set up in all 140 Assembly constituencies and 134 posts had been created towards the same. The GALs in Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Ernakulam were completing the final processes of securing NABL accreditation. The lab staff and scientists in these institutions would be given training at the CFTRI lab at Mysuru. He said that because of the stringent actions taken by the State the entry of pesticide-ridden vegetables from other States had decreased considerably.

Food Safety Commissioner T.V. Anupama said that the results of pesticide tests on vegetables and fruits would be available within three days.

Chief Government Analyst S.T. Thankachan, Directorof Public Health Lab S. Sunija, State Drugs Controller P. Hariprasad, and other senior officials were present.

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