HYDERABAD: India, the second largest exporter of sugar in the world, has something to cheer about as a study of representative samples of sugar across the country has shown no detectable presence of pesticides in the sweet commodity.
This comes as sweet news to the industry in the wake of apprehensions and allegations by cola companies that pesticide residues in the sugar used by them contaminated their bottled beverages.
Researchers from Hyderabad -based National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) tested 27 samples collected from different states in the country for the presence of organophosphate and organochlorine pesticides.
According to the findings of the study published in the Food Chemistry journal, the levels indicated the absence of pesticides including alpha endosulfan and beta endosulfan, chlorpyrifos and DDT analysed at 0.1 microgram per kilogram level.
Concerns regarding the presence of pesticide residues in finished agricultural products containing sugars, including fruit and vegetable juices and carbonated beverages, had prompted the civil society to demand that the government, for the first in the world, set a minimum residual level (MRL) of pesticides in packaged agricultural products.
“Exports will receive a boost due to the absence of any contamination in the sugar samples. The findings also eliminate concerns regarding the presence of harmful residues in marketed beverages which contain considerable amounts of sugar,” said Dr SN Sinha of NIN who was a part of the team which carried out the study.
The study took into account sugar samples collected from 27 mills in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal.