23 Dec 2013

Misuse of Oxytocin Injection

There have been some reports in the Media regarding the use of oxytocin injection being administered to cattle by dairy owners and also to increase the size of vegetables and fruits by farmers in the country. However, there is no scientific data available on the extent of these practices.

Following the reports of use of the artificial coloring / ripening agents in vegetables/ fruits, a Joint Committee for Research on Food Safety, was constituted in August, 2010 under Co-Chairmanship of the Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Director General, Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) to address the various issues relating to the safety of using ripening and coloring agents, and any other relevant issues in nutrition and food safety which emerge from time to time. 

In pursuance of the recommendation of the above mentioned Joint Committee, the following research studies to generate information / data regarding the extent of use and effect of oxytocin in animals and vegetables have been completed:

i) Survey to assess the use of oxytocin in  production of vegetables.
ii) Effect of oxytocin injection on yield and quality of bottle gourd.
iii)  Assessing the thermal stability of oxytocin in milk and digestive stability of oxytocin in vitro.
iv)  Effects of oxytocin exposure on reproduction in adult male and female rat.

Implementation of the Food Safety and Standards Act/ Rules/ Regulations rests with State/ U.T. Governments. 

The Commissioners Food Safety/ Food (Health) Authority of States/ UTs who are responsible for implementation of Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 and Rules/ Regulations made thereunder in their States/ UTs, have been requested from time to time to keep a strict vigil on use of carbide gas and other hazardous chemicals for ripening of fruits and to take legal action for violation of the above provision of the Act/ Regulations. 

The State Governments have also been advised to educate the public through print and electronic media against consumption of such artificially ripened fruits and vegetables. State Governments have taken measures in this regard, such as ordering the Food Safety Officers (FSOs)/ Designated Officers (DOs) to keep a watch on fruit markets, inspection of fruit market, fruit stalls/ godowns, taking samples of fruits, vegetables & milk, educating fruit vendors to refrain from using these chemicals, etc. 

This was stated by Sh Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare in a written reply to the Lok Sabha today.

Popular Posts