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Inspect organic shops: rights panel

5,January, 2019

Petitioner cites Minister’s statement

The State Human Rights Commission has ordered the government to conduct inspections in shops selling organic vegetables in the State for pesticide residues.

Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar had informed the Assembly that pesticide residues were detected in organic vegetable samples, the commission said on Friday.

Report in a month

Commission chairman Antony Dominic has asked the Food Safety Commissioner, Agriculture Secretary, and the State Police Chief to take the necessary measures and submit reports in a month.

The commission’s order was based on a petition filed by activist Ragam Rahim. There is increased dependence on shops selling organically cultivated vegetables and fruits with pesticide-ridden vegetables being blamed for causing lethal diseases like cancer, the petitioner said.

Thrice the price

Trusting consumers are willing to pay thrice the normal price for organic vegetables thinking them to be free of pesticides. If such vegetables indeed contain toxins, it is a violation of the right to live. Such shops should be closed down especially in a scenario where the Minister himself had informed the Assembly about the pesticide residues, Mr. Rahim said in his petition.

Replying to a question in the Assembly on December 11, Mr. Sunil Kumar had cited a report of the Pesticide Residue Research and Analytical Laboratory at Vellayani which said that 11.11% of samples collected from privately-run organic vegetable shops contained pesticide residues.

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