The Indian government plans to create a food safety agency by the end of the year. The agency will set standards for pesticides, additives, organic food and hygiene for both domestically produced and imported food. In addition, the agency will be responsible for establishing recall procedures. Current food testing policies in India are not enforced: for example, New Delhi food testing labs obtain fewer than half of their required samples, and many collected samples are thrown out because they spoil before they can be tested. Estimates place the amount of pesticides used in India at 30,000 tons a year and more than 60% of these pesticides are used on food crops. According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, until 2000, 20% of all fruit, vegetables and milk had levels of pesticide residue that were higher than current standards. Although reactions to a unified set of rules have been positive, many food producers are concerned that meeting new standards may be difficult.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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