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Plan to Curb Pesticide Residue in Farm Products
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Plan to Curb Pesticide Residue in Farm Products

Pesticide residue and chemical fertilizers are higher than the permissible limits in some of the domestic agricultural products, says Dr. Hedayat Hosseini, general director of food, hygiene & cosmetic control at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
He pointed to a national plan to control pesticide residue in agricultural produce, and said since the second half of the previous year (ended March 20), it had been implemented to check the levels in seven widely consumed farm products including potatoes, onions, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, apple and rice. “The plan will continue till the end of the first half of the current year (started March 21).”
According to information collected so far, “we realized that the amount of harmful chemicals in some fruits and vegetables is higher than the permissible level set by the health ministry, Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying.  
The agricultural jihad ministry has been notified of the contaminated products to enable the organization to reform farm production methods,” he said, adding that “using organic fertilizers and setting a ceiling on the amount of pesticide to be used, can effectively contribute to healthy food  production.”

 Second Phase
“From the second half of the current year, we plan to start the second phase of monitoring of a wider range of agriculture products (probably 11 or 12 more). The new monitoring plan is being developed,” Hosseini said.
Watermelon and fresh vegetables would be included in the next phase of the program. Also fruits with highest consumption per capita will be prioritized. The project will be implemented in 10 regions.
The use of pesticides is necessary to prevent crop losses and produce larger quantities of food. Without pesticides, 42% of all crops produced annually would be destroyed by different kinds of pests, said Mohammad Ali Baghestani, director of the Plant Protection Organization adding that “as the population increases, the amount of food produced is very important.”
 The average quantity of pesticides applied per hectare is 562 grams in the country while it is 1000 grams across the world; so the amount of pesticides used is not high; however proper application of the substance is also important (for example time intervals between each pesticide application, and the last pesticide application and harvest of crops).
 Prevention
The intervals allow time for the pesticide to break down in the environment, preventing residue on products, he said. “The time between pesticide application and consumption is long enough in some agricultural products such as domestically produced rice.”
Pesticide residue refers to the pesticides that may remain on or in food after they are applied to food crops. The levels of these residues are often stipulated by regulatory bodies in many countries. Exposure of the general population to pesticide residue most commonly occurs through consumption of treated food sources.
Many of the pesticides found in farm produce have been linked to serious short and long-term health effects including infertility, birth defects and childhood and adult cancers. They can disrupt hormones and interfere with normal development of the nervous system in children.

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