THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Health Minister V S Sivakumar said on Sunday that Operation Ruchi, the statewide food safety initiative, was a big success during the Onam season.
“The raids as part of Operation Ruchi (restricted use of chemicals and harmful ingredients) are continuing on vegetable stalls, restaurants and consignments passing through various check-posts,” he said.
“The government’s efforts to ensure the availability of unadulterated fruits, vegetables, milk and edible oil met with success. Continuous awareness programmes also helped in increasing the domestic production of vegetables, thereby controlling the market prices,” he said.
Sivakumar said that the Tamil Nadu government cooperated with the state in banning vegetables with pesticide content over permissible limits. The farmers and food safety officials in Tamil Nadu are now supporting he state’s demand for pesticide-free produce.
“The TN Food Safety officials were successful in creating awareness on the possible drop in sales if the farmers continued with indiscriminate use of pesticides. The sale of pesticides in that state saw a 40 per cent drop now,” Sivakumar said.
Sivakumar said that the Tamil Nadu Agriculture Department’s district-level quality control officials were conducting frequent raids on vegetable sales centres.
The minister congratulated the TN Food Safety Department for issuing food safety certificates to vegetable consignments to Kerala.
GC/MS/MS, a latest device to check pesticide content in vegetables and food products will be available at the Food Safety laboratories in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam from next week. At present, the department is depending on outsede labs for the sophisticated test. Ten food safety analysts have been trained to use the device. The minister said that 1,766 raids were conducted as part of the operation during the Onam season. Nine shops that sold low quality or adulterated products were closed. Three hundred and forty-eight traders were given improvement notices. Several others were fined.