Hyderabad: Researchers from the All India Network Project on Pesticide Residues, at Prof. Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), have found residues of a wide range of pesticides on curry leaf, commonly known as karepak, in samples of the vegetables brought from various markets in Hyderabad.
The researchers took 120 samples for tests and found that 71 samples had more than one pesticide. They found residues of 22 commonly used pesticides in the curry leaf samples apart from residues of some rarely used pesticides as well.
However, they could not comment if the pesticide residues were at dangerous levels or tolerable as the maximum residue Limit for pesticides in curry leaf has not been prescribed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.
Curry leaf is a common ingredient in kitchens, especially in South Indian homes.
Dr Shashi Bhushan Vemuri, former head of the AINP on Pesticide Residues said, “While prescribing pesticide residue standards will not help common folk directly, it will at least help in making people aware if the curry leaf they are consuming is safe or not whenever a study is done. We have done research on curry leaf and found pesticide residues, but we cannot say if it is safe or unsafe.”
He added, “Curry leaf is exported to various countries and many consignments were rejected by some countries as they found large quantities of pesticides in them. An MRL for curry leaf will also ensure that the standard for exports is maintained and is not affected due to indiscriminate usage of pesticides.”
MRLs have been set by FSSAI for only a handful of vegetables which are exported by India to other countries which include soybean, onion, okra, green chilly and ginger.
The pesticide Profenophos and Triazophos were found in many samples of curry leaf but there is no maximum residue limit set by FSSAI for either pesticide for any vegetable.