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Don’t Eat Moong, Masoor Dal. GOI Says It May Have Imported Poisoned Lentils

These pulses contain residues of the highly toxic herbicide Glyphosate, used by farmers to clear weeds.

The Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI) has warned people not to consume lentils like masoor dal and moong dal which are imported from countries like Canada and Australia.

These pulses contain residues of the highly toxic herbicide Glyphosate, being excessively used by farmers in some countries. Reportedly, India does not have its own regulations on herbicide Glyphosate therefore, FSSAI has adopted the international standards for now.

“There is a possibility of higher levels of residues of the herbicide Glyphosate in pulses which could adversely affect the health of consumers here. Since the maximum residual limits (MRL) for Glyphosate in pulses has not been specified in the FSSAI regulations, we have asked the concerned officials to follow the MRL for the herbicide as specified in the Codex standards,” an FSSAI official said.

The apex food regulation authority has also directed laboratories to test the pulses for ‘Glyphosate” along with other parameters.

FSSAI took the measure only after food security activist Santanu (Tony) Mitra alleged that Australian moong dal and Canadian masoor dal can be toxic since they contain high amount of Glyphosate.

“Mitra thinks that the Indian diet might have become overly contaminated from imported pulses. The pulses need to be tested for glyphosate residue at every entry point which is not being carried out presently,” an FSSAI official told The Pioneer.

The overconsumption of Glyphosate can disrupt protein-related functions of the body, affect immunity to serious diseases and the absorption of mineral and vitamin nutrients. In Sri Lanka, several sugarcane farmers reportedly died due to renal failure after being overexposed to the herbicide.

Dr GV Ramanjaneyulu, agricultural scientist and founder of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture observes that since imported pulses are not labelled unlike other organic products, “It’s very difficult to find out if we are consuming Canadian pulses or locally grown ones, if they are sold in loose.”

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