Pesticide-laced cardamom: Aravana Payasam fit for consumption, Centre informs SC

New Delhi : The Central government stated in the Supreme Court (SC) that the Aravana payasam (jaggery kheer offering) given to devotees in Sabarimala is fit for consumption. Earlier this year, the Kerala High Court had ordered the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) to stop the sales of ‘Aravana’ after traces of pesticide-laced cardamom were found in it. Following this, the TDB approached the Supreme Court seeking to carry out tests on the samples.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) submitted an affidavit to the SC after verifying the samples from the remaining stock. The report was submitted as per the direction of the SC following the HC’s stay order on distribution.
Based on the SC’s order dated May 15, the FSSAI directed the state food safety Commissioner to take some samples from the remaining stock of Aravana and check them. Following this, 16 samples from eight different batches were tested. The samples were found to be edible and satisfactory and this was mentioned in the report by the FSSAI joint director K Balasubramanian.
The HC had stayed the distribution of Aravana after traces of pesticide-laced cardamom were found in it. 6,65,159 cans of Aravana remained unsold due to the order.

The Devaswom board pointed out that only 720 grams of cardamom is added to 350 kilograms of a single batch of Aravana, which mostly consists of rice and jaggery. This accounts for only 0.21% of the total ingredients. The board also argued that since Aravana is prepared at a heat of 200 degrees Celsius, it is not possible that a higher amount of pesticide will be present in the same.

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