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Pesticide Residues In The Food Chain

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There is a saying that 'As you eat, so your mind', it can be said that if healthy food is taken, the body will remain healthy. But along with the killing of pests found in agriculture due to the entry of chemicals in the food chain, other animals including humans have also been endangered. Humans are becoming sick due to excessive amount of pesticides in the diet.

Chemical farming : It is well known that chemical farming products contain large amounts of toxic residues of chemicals (Brandt and Molgaard 2001). Chattopadhyay, in his research paper in 1998, found residues of more than 40 pesticides (such as quinulfos, malathione, phosphamidone, daemoate, daclorovos and phorate) in cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal, etc. (Chattopadhyay 1998). Chahal and others have confirmed pesticides residue in 197 samples of brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower, potato and tomato in a research paper published in 1999 (Chahal et al.1999). According to Toteja and others (2006), the Indian Council of Medical Research surveyed 11 states found DDT and HCH in 1712 samples of wheat and flour collected (Toteja et al. 2006). Thakur and others (2008) also found levels of heptachlor, ethion, and chloropyrifos above the permissible limits in drinking water, vegetable and blood samples from Talwandi Sabo and Chamkaur Sahib, Punjab (Thakur et al. , 2008). All these pesticides have been found to be related to cancer.

Organic farming : Organic farming products contain lower amounts of harmful pesticide residues than chemical farming (Brandt and Molgaard 2001), however, research also suggests that organic products are not less toxic (Edwards-Jones and Howells 2001).

Natural farming : No poisonous substance is used in natural farming, so there is no question of toxic residue in food items.


Brandt K. and Molgaard J.P., 2001, “Organic agriculture: does it enhance or reduce the nutritional value of plant foods?,” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture; 81(9): 924-931.[Web Reference]

Chahal, K.K., B. Singh, R.S. Battu, and B.K. Kang. 1999. Monitoring of farmgate vegetables for insecticide residues in Punjab. Indian Journal of Ecology 26 (1): 50-55.

Chattopadhyay P.K. 1998, “Insecticide and pesticide pollution of food stuffs and their toxic effect on man,” Chandigarh: Punjab State Council for Science and Technology.

Edwards-Jones G. and Howells O., 2001, “The origin and hazard of inputs to crop protection in organic farming systems: are they sustainable?,” Agricultural Systems; 67(1): 31-47. [Web Reference]

Thakur, J.S., B.T. Rao, A. Rajwanshi, H.K. Parwana, R. and Kumar. 2008. Epidemiological study of high cancer among rural agricultural community of Punjab in Northern India. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 5: 399-407. [Web Reference]

Toteja G.S., et al., 2006, “Residues of DDT and HCH in wheat samples collected from different states of India and their dietary exposure: A multicentre study,” Food additives and contaminants; 23(3): 281-288. [Web Reference]


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