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Indian Gov't Caution Citizens Against Consuming Imported Lentils

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India's food safety watchdog has warned people not to consume lentils imported from Canada and Australia. The body has also directed laboratories across India to test the imported pulses for the presence of the toxic herbicide Glyphosate, along with other testing parameters.

The FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has warned that lentils imported from Australia and Canada might contain high residues of Glyphosate, a highly toxic herbicide used by farmers to clear weeds.

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"There is a possibility of higher levels of residues of the herbicide Glyphosate in pulses thereby adversely affecting the health of consumers here. As the MRL (maximum residual limits) for Glyphosate in pulses has not been specified in the FSSAI regulations, therefore for the time being MRL for Glyphosate in pulses as specified in the Codex standards shall be taken into consideration for the purpose of import clearances," a statement from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) reads.

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​A recent test conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on the samples of the lentils and pulses grown by farmers in Canada and Australia found an average 282 parts per billion and 1,000 per billion of Glyphosate respectively, which is considered very high. 

India does not have its own regulations on the herbicide Glyphosate and thus the FSSAI has adopted the international standards for the time being.  

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The measure by the FSSAI was prompted by an alarm raised by food security activist Santanu Mitra (Tony Mitra), who has been fighting for a ban on the use of Glyphosate in Canada, alleging that Australian and Canadian lentils can be toxic, since they contain a considerable amount of Glyphosate.

Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum, non-selective herbicide that destroys plant tissue by inhibiting photosynthesis, cellular growth, and nucleic acid production and is the world's largest selling herbicide. Monsanto is the major manufacturer of Glyphosate. It is considered highly toxic. Overconsumption of Glyphosate affects the kidneys.

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