Poison on a platter
If the mid-day meal disasters weren’t alarming enough, Delhi has more reasons to worry. This time they come on a platter. Delhi high court has observed that level of pesticide residues in food commodities consumed by almost 1.75 crore denizens of the national capital region are at an exceedingly high point. So much so that the food we consume on a daily basis has been deemed unfit for consumption, according to a report by an expert committee. The court, which pulled up the city government and the union agricultural ministry to take effective measures to tackle the problem, nevertheless mentioned that fruits, cereals, vegetables and other eatables are all contaminated heavily, thereby posing a major health hazard for all and sundry. It is extremely disheartening to learn that India’s search for cheap food has in fact led up to a harvest of poison, with toxic and carcinogenic elements finding their way into almost every food item in our grocery list. The kitchen sink drama might just have a tremendously tragic ending if use of pesticides isn’t regulated and norms for using only approved preservatives aren’t made mandatory. Regular laboratory inspections of food items, grains and vegetables, both on the fields and at warehouses, must be conducted so as to minimise contamination at all levels. In addition, products that have been banned in other countries for toxicity must be summarily discredited. The ministry of agriculture must also take note of subsidising good quality seeds for poorer farmers so that use of presticides and substandard fertilisers is brought down. It’s alimentary, in the end.