Kerala has written to its neighbour Tamil Nadu expressing alarm that vegetables brought from that state has pesticide residues three to five times more than the permissible limit.
This was noticed during random visits made recently to farmlands in Tamil Nadu by a team of food safety officials from Kerala after the state launched a drive against sale of vegetables with high pesticide residue.
Kerala sources 80% of its vegetables from neighbouring states.
The state government, based on a report prepared by the food safety officials, has written to Tamil Nadu in this regard, commissioner of food safety TV Anupama told PTI.
"Food Safety officials from the state visited two-three farmlands each in nine districts of Tamil Nadu and prepared the report. Farmlands in Nagercoil, Dindigul, Tirunelveli and Kodaikanal were among those visited," she said.
The visits took place after a meeting convened by chief minister Oommen Chandy on June 10 decided to check the flow of such vegetables to the state. An inter-state secretary level meeting has been planned next month to discuss the matter.
This report comes at a time when the Kerala government is carrying out a campaign to encourage people in the state to grow more vegetables locally. Chief minister Oommen Chandy has appealed to people of the state to celebrate this year's Onam, a harvest festival, with home grown vegetables.
Meanwhile, agriculture scientist Dr Thomas Biju Mathews of Agricultural University here said normally test results are not conclusive as random samples from open market and neighbouring states are usually taken for the tests.
"The results are always changing. It is a continuous monitoring process", he added.
On tests conducted on vegetables coming from other states, he said trace level of pesticide was 10% on the samples tested.