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High pesticide residues in spices especially turmeric and chilly have been a grave concern and impediment to the dietary and food supplement industry
Kerala-based Arishina Life Sciences, manufacturers of spices and botanical extracts, has resorted to certifying its supply chain with the ‘Rain Forest Alliance’ as a move to promote sustainable agricultural practices and fight pesticide contamination of herbs and spices.
With this certification, the company has been successful in bringing down the level of pesticide contaminants consistently to minimal values across their batches of turmeric and chilly for over a year.
Arishina’s practices under Rain Forest Alliance include promoting safe practices in cultivation & PPE usage, promoting reforestation & related practices, pest control management through approved chemical application, border crop & intercrop practices, organising health cultivation practice awareness programmes, conducting health camps & medical support, wildlife protection and create value addition to the farm by introducing add-on crops like chilly as a rotating crop and onion as an intercrop.
Arishina ensures the traceability of its agricultural products through constant tracking via GPS tagging and QR coding up to the level of retailing. Currently, the company has partnered with 2400 farmers from the regions across Karnataka capable of producing 2000 hectares of turmeric and 200 hectares of chilly cultivation annually. Currently, over 350 farms have been certified through Rain Forest Alliance programme.
It may be noted that high pesticide residues in spices especially turmeric and chilly have been a grave concern and impediment to the dietary and food supplement industry. Contamination of spices occurs mainly via pollution from heavy metals (lead arsenic, cadmium, mercury), industrial emissions, effluents, and also via anthropogenic activities. Prominent contaminants traced out in spices include poly aromatic hydrocarbons like benzopyrene, choloropyriphos, naturally occurring agaric acid, safrole, hypericin, etc.
Consumption of natural ingredients tainted with such hazardous residues found in food, nutrition, and dietary supplements, in the long run, can pose serious health ailments both acute and chronic to consumers.