On Wednesday, the Nepalese cabinet cleared the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development to set maximum residue limits for ten fruits and vegetables. The maximum tolerated levels will be fixed as per international standards, and will apply to both locally grown and imported products. It will also allow the government to set the limits for mycotoxins in foodstuffs.
Mycotoxins can cause a variety of adverse health effects and pose a serious health threat to both humans and livestock. The adverse health effects of mycotoxins range from acute poisoning to long-term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer.
The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control had proposed to set the maximum residue limits in apple, banana, bitter gourd, eggplant, cabbage, cauliflower, okra, potato, tomato and tea for the first time.
Madhav Timilsina, president of the Consumer Rights Investigation Forum, said it was a welcome step to determine the residue level, but the implementation part seems always weak given the government’s track record. The government has never taken strict action against traders engaging in malicious activities, and the government mechanism lacks proper investigation and testing of food products, he said.