New Delhi, May 5 (PTI) Delhi High Court today directed the AAP government to take necessary steps for appointment of food safety officers (FSOs) to check presence of pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables available in the national Capital.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said this after the counsel appearing for the Delhi government informed it that he would file a status report on the issue pertaining to appointment of the officers.
The bench was informed that as per the affidavit filed by Delhi government in November last year, there was requirement of FSOs.
“There is requirement of food safety officers. What have you (government) done?,” the bench asked.
Responding to this, the counsel said that advertisments have been published for this and report have been forwarded to the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB).
“You will have to fix a time for this,” the bench said.
The counsel representing the government, however, sought time to file a status report in this regard.
“Let them first satisfy this court about appointment of food safety officers. Then we will see this,” the bench said and fixed the matter for hearing on August 10.
Earlier, taking suo motu cognisance of a media report, the court had directed the Union Agriculture Ministry to set up a committee and frame guidelines to prevent use of pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables.
The move had come after some NGOs had submitted surveys that vegetables and fruits sold in the city markets contained pesticides capable of causing cancer and harming the nervous system and liver.
One of the petitioners had said the quantum of pesticides in fruits and vegetables in India, especially those sold in markets here, was as much as 750 times the European standards.
It had claimed that out of the five internationally-banned pesticides, four were found to be common in vegetables sold here. They included a central nervous system toxin endrin which caused nausea and dizziness and heptachlor (a compound used as an insecticide) that can damage the liver and decrease fertility.