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TN veggie safe, govt dismisses Kerala claims of toxicity

TN veggie safe, govt dismisses Kerala claims of toxicity

Chennai: Asserting that vegetables and fruits grown in the State are absolutely safe, Tamil Nadu government dismissed Kerala's claim of presence of excessive pesticide in greens, citing test results.

Agriculture and Housing Minister R Vaithilingam also slammed the Kerala government for not getting Tamil Nadu's concurrence for its field study in the state to detect presence of pesticides.

"That Kerala officials did not apprise their Tamil Nadu counterparts over their field study or on their report is an improper act. They should have taken the concurrence of Tamil Nadu government and its field officials," he said.

Kerala's 'unnecessary steps' that could cause fear are in no way correct and these are based on 'unfounded' claims of presence of pesticides, he said in a report tabled in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.

Vegetables and fruits grown in Tamil Nadu are 'absolutely safe' and are second to none (other state's produce)," he said in the report in response to a calling attention motion moved by members of Left parties.

Vaithilingam said the state government would ask Kerala to stop its officials from sounding unnecessary warnings and placing curbs over vegetables and fruits supplied there, citing unfounded suspicion.

In his speech later, he assuaged apprehensions of Left members V P Nagaimali and M Arumugam and said Kerala had never banned vegetables supply but only insisted on due clearance under Food Security Act for traders supplying the produce.

"Only you (opposition members) are worked up... 800 tons of vegetables are being sent to Kerala by 250 trucks," he said.

Rubbishing Kerala's claim of impact of pesticide and chemicals on vegetables, he said results of tests in Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, the top farm varsity in the country in the second week of June, found no toxicity in vegetables grown in the state.

Only five of 117 samples procured from districts supplying produce to Kerala was found to have impact of pesticide. "It was under permissible limits," he said.

"Test results have confirmed that there is no truth in the claim of Kerala government."

There were also no reports of Indian Agricultural Research Institute indicating toxicity in vegetables from Tamil Nadu, he said.

Even a recent test done at a facility at Tiruchirappali Airport cited only pest attack in just 20 kg of 84,522 kg of vegetables and no presence of pesticide toxicity.

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