ICMR to see if ‘damaged’ paddy eatable

University and approved by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research.

Written by Teena Thacker | Published: August 20, 2010 12:48:45 am

Declared to the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Standards,the “safety” of the well-known variety of paddy,PAU 201,will now be investigated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad,MP Harsimrat Kaur and officials of the ICMR and PFA met Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday and decided to investigate if the variety of paddy was safe for human consumption.

Grown mostly in Punjab,PAU 201 came under the scanner after some “black spots” were noticed on the grains. The PFA had declared the blackened grains as damaged. Punjab has since been in touch with the Health Ministry for relaxing the PFA rules for not considering partially blackened grains as damaged. The issue has led to delaying in milling of PAU 201 procured by Punjab which contributes 50-60 per cent of the food grains in the national pool.

A member of a farmers’ association in Punjab said “PAU is a high-yielding variety of paddy that needs less amount of water. Declaring it damaged will lead to huge losses.”

The variety had been developed by the Punjab Agriculture University and approved by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research.

Of the 75 samples of PAU 201 checked by the Health Ministry,nine samples did not conform to standards. ICMR will now see “whether it is toxic or can be harmful for human consumption,” an official said.

Can’t give free foodgrain: Pawar

New Delhi: The government on Thursday said it was not possible to implement the SC suggestion to distribute free foodgrain to the poorest of the poor instead of allowing it to rot due for lack of storage. “It’s not possible to implement the SC order,” Food Minister Sharad Pawar said. “We cannot distribute freely. We are distributing wheat at Rs 2 a kg. What SC is telling,we are already doing it,” he noted. PTI

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