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Hyderabad, Jan. 21

THE Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Prof. N. K. Ganguly, has called for the networking of laboratories to monitor pesticide residues in food, water, soft drinks and beverages.

Inaugurating a national seminar on pesticide residues and their risk assessment here on Thursday, Prof. Ganguly said that there was a need to monitor pesticide residues periodically in different parts of the country by accredited laboratories of various disciplines.

This network of laboratories should determine the magnitude of the problem and undertake risk assessment to contain and completely eliminate health risks, if any, due to pesticides and other contaminants. The ICMR chief also pointed out the need to create a forecasting system. He said that "we need a good geographical information system (GIS) to identify toxicology." The Food and Drug Toxicology Research Centre of the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) was organising the two-day seminar.

The Joint Secretary of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ms Rita Teotia, said that the Ministry had formulated a Capacity Building Project with loan assistance from the World Bank for strengthening the State food laboratories by providing sophisticated instruments for the analysis of pesticide residues.

Stating that surveillance studies on high risk areas, seasons, foods and high risk population groups and pesticide residues need to be undertaken in different agro-climatic zones, Ms Teotia said that the Ministry had proposed to NIN to undertake such a project. She also suggested the generation of quality food consumption data for fixing the maximum residue limits (MRLs) of pesticides.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 22, 2005)
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