Curry powders sold by Kerala's top brands have hazardous ingredients, says RTI responsetext_fields
Response to an RTI query revealed that curry powders sold by several top brands in Kerala have hazardous substances like ethion, chlorpyrifos, fenpropathrin, permethrin, and quinalphos. These are said to cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, abdominal muscle cramps, weakness, loss of coordination, irritated respiratory system, and excessive salivation.
The PIL was filed by Leonard John, a planter from Kannur, and the response was given by Food Safety Assistant Commissioners' offices in Alappuzha and Palakkad, reported The News Minute.
John also sought to cancel the license of these brands and to design a system to prevent contaminated products from entering the market. The petitioner added that a government official told him that he does not have the right to cancel the license of these brands.
Most of the brands mentioned in the RTI response are endorsed by celebrities.
He specifically cited that ethion is a pesticide used to kill insects. It is included in the list of hazardous and toxic chemicals of the Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness, and Response) Rules 1996 and Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules 1989. His petition sought to prohibit the manufacture and sale of curry powders containing ethion.
John told TNM that the government is yet to act on the September 2021 order issued by the Kerala High Court which said authorities should suspend or cancel the license of the companies that break the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The court asked officials to ensure that the law is strictly followed to avoid the recurring sale of contaminated cooking products.
Food Safety Commissioner VR Vinod told TNM that the department withdraws a batch of products from the market if they are tested unsafe. As per the law, a case will be filed against the company. However, there is no provision in the Act to withdraw the entire product but only the unsafe batch.