Most of the vegetables showed relatively higher pesticide residue detection in rainy season followed by summer and winter seasons, it said.

However the samples of meat, milk and surface water did not have pesticides above maximum residue level, it added.

The study was conducted as part of the central scheme 'Monitoring of Pesticide Residues at National Level' operational since 2005. The present report details pesticide residue levels in food items for the year 2013-14.

"A total of 16,790 samples have been analysed, out of which, 509 samples were found above maximum residue limit (MRL) as prescribed under Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) under Ministry of Health and CODEX," the report said.

The samples were collected from various wholesale and retail markets located at different parts of the country and analysed by 25 laboratories, it said.

According to the report, 221 out of 7,591 vegetables samples were found to have pesticides residues above MRL.

"Among all the vegetables samples analysed, capsicum, green chilli and cauliflower samples were found having high number of above MRL residues followed by samples of cabbage, brinjal, tomato, okra, bitter gourd, cucumber, green pea and coriander leaves," the report said.

The pesticides which commonly found above MRL in the samples were chlorpyrifos, ethion, acetamiprid, dichlorvos and cypermethrin, it added.

In case of fruits, 36 samples out of 2,235 had residues above MRL and grapes had higher level of pesticides above MRL.      

Out of 1,161 spices samples, 128 samples contained residues above MRL and cardamom were found having high number of above MRL pesticide mainly with quinalphos, cyhalothrin-L, profenofos, bifenthrin, triazophos and cypermethrin.
Among cereals, 73 out of 886 rice samples and and 39 out of 823 wheat samples, as well as six out of 776 fish samples were found to have above MRL pesticides. Tea and pulses were also reported to have pesticides at above MRL, the report said.

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