The levels of pesticide residue, found in some of the samples, were within the limits prescribed under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, the central government told the court.
In a report, submitted before the division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, the government said the tests on 31 samples of five vegetables were conducted at four laboratories.
The laboratories were approved by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), under the department of science and technology.
‘A total of 31 vegetable samples from different locations of Delhi were analyzed by four NABL-accredited laboratories in Delhi. Pesticide residue was detected in eight vegetables samples and none of them showed the presence of pesticides above the maximum residue limit (MRL) notified by the centre under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. No banned pesticides were detected in any of the vegetable sample,’ the report said.
Taking suo motu cognizance of a media report over alleged rampant use of banned pesticides in vegetables and fruits, the court asked the government to conduct tests.
The report, quoting a study on use of banned pesticides, conducted by NGO Consumer Voice said the amount of pesticides used in India was as much as 750 times the European standards.
Out of five internationally banned pesticides, four were found to be common in vegetables and fruits. These pesticides caused headache, affected fertility and were a threat to kidney and liver, the report said.
Advocate V.K. Rao, appointed by the court, raised objections to the report presented in the court and sought a direction to the government to take samples of 35 different vegetables and at least four fruits before arriving at a conclusion.
The bench said it would consider all the suggestions and objections by Sep 14, the next date of hearing, while directing the central government to file an affidavit giving details of the tests.
At the time of ordering the tests, the court said: ‘We would like to find out as to whether pesticides are there in the vegetables sold in Delhi or not. It would be appropriate that the vegetables be purchased randomly and sent for the tests.’