Lab for pesticide residue testing gets ISO stamp

Viju B, TNN Sep 22, 2012, 09.53AM IST
The lab, situated in the Kerala agriculture university campus at Vellayani, has got ISO 17025-2005 recognition, after auditors from the national accreditation board for testing and calibration laboratories ( NABL) conducted tests and inspections at this facility and gave the final approval last week.
“Each agro-product has been ascertained a certain pesticide residue limit as per the food and safety act 2011. We will be testing all agroproducts as per these limits,” said Dr Naseema Beevi, head, all India network project on pesticide residue, Kerala agriculture university, Vellayani centre. “The facility has the capability to test residues of 44 pesticides in fruits, vegetables, pulses and water. We will test even minimal pesticides residues so that consumers can be sure that they are buying organic products,” said Dr Beevi.
Senior agriculture officials said the ISO recognition would also boost export of organic agro-product, especially to European countries, which are very strict about quality and reject organic farm produce if they detect even minimum pesticide levels in them.
“The organic agro-product will be labelled as per ISO standard, and will be internationally acceptable. This will even boost exports of agro-products,” said a senior agriculture department official.
The state has drafted a road map for implementing organic farming in districts, taking Sikkim as a successful model. “We have now selected five panchayats in Kasaragod district for the project. Farmers will be given training and expertise in organic farming methods,” an official said.
The state will also assist farmers in marketing these products so that they do not incur losses after shifting to organic farming. The state is also planning to provide people safe-to-eat farm-fresh vegetables and fruits through select horticulture outlets.
“We were looking at ways to standardize the testing methods of products received from farmers cultivating natural vegetables and fruits as stipulated by the food safety act,” the official added.
The state will also bear the expense for testing farm products. “It will take at least two days to test a bunch of samples,” a lab official said.