FSSAI claims reports on ‘approval of 10 times more pesticides’ as baseless, says India’s standards are strictest in the world

Clarifying on reports about ten times more pesticide residue in herbs and spices, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said that they are baseless. 

“Some media reports are claiming that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) allows ten times more pesticide residue in herbs and spices. Such reports are false and malicious,” FSSAI said through a press release. 


It further clarified that India has one of the most stringent standards of Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) in the world. Additionally, it said that a pesticide registered on many food commodities with different Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) is based on risk assessment data. 

Backing the claim of false reports, FSSAI said the MRL of 0.01 mg/kg was applicable in case of pesticides. The limit was increased to 0.1 mg/kg only in cases of spices and is applicable only for those pesticides which are not registered in India by Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee (CIB & RC). The move was recommended by Scientific Panel on Pesticide Residues. 

As per FSSAI, the MRLs fixed by CODEX for Myclobutanil used for Chilli is 20 mg/kg whereas limit set by FSSAI is 2mg/kg. For Spiromesifen, used for Chilli, Codex limit is 5 mg/kg whereas FSSAI limit is 1 mg/kg. Similarly, Codex standards for Metalaxyl and Metalaxyl-M used for black pepper is 2mg/kg whereas limit set by FSSAI is 0.5 mg/kg.

Name of the Pesticides/Insecticides Spices FSSAI MRL
Codex MRLs
Metalaxyl and Metalaxyl-M Black pepper 0.5 2
Myclobutanil Chilli, dried 2 20
Spiromesifen Chilli, dried 1 5
Thiamethoxam Chilli, dried 5 7

Comparison of MRLs fixed by FSSAI and CODEX

The new Codex MRLs for Dithiocarbamates, Phorate, Triazophos and Profenophos for Fennel is 0.1 mg/kg. FSSAI aligns with the updated standards of MRLs set by Codex Alimentarius Commission (and International Food Safety and Quality Standard setting body created by WHO and FAO of UN) and the European Union.  

The MRLs are dynamic in nature and regularly revised based on the scientific data. This practice is aligned with global standards and ensures that MRL revisions are made on a scientifically valid basis, reflecting the latest findings and international norms. 

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