Farm produce under constant scrutiny

The Tehran Municipality’s Organization of Fruits and Vegetables Markets, as the largest retailer, continuously evaluates agricultural produce for contamination on a case by case basis, and sends the information to the agriculture jihad ministry, said Ali Effati, health deputy of the organization.

For the first time in the country, red meat packages with hologram labels are being supplied at fruit and vegetables markets; therefore people can be assured of the product quality and safety, ISNA reported.

All the products supplied to the markets, known locally as “maidan tarabar,” are checked based on random sampling and testing protocol, he said, adding that, “in case of any doubt on a product safety, its distribution is immediately stopped. Sampling and monitoring of products is a constant and continuous process.”

Effati said distribution of 50% of poultry products and 70% of fish and other seafood in Tehran is undertaken by the organization, and poultry products produced in 10 provinces are sent to the main terminal from where they are supplied across the city after health inspections.

“In 190 localities in Tehran, our markets are supplying fruits and vegetables. Organic farm produce is available in 13 markets and 25 centers sell certified agricultural products (with permissible levels of pesticides residue and chemicals).

The organization has recently signed a MoU with the Iran Organic Products Association, by which the latter is committed “to cooperate in identification of producers of organic fruits and vegetables.”

On the harmful chemicals and pesticides’ residue in farm products, several meetings with the agriculture jihad and health ministries were held to make the needed changes in production and distribution systems.”Our studies were offered in the meetings to help address the problems,” he added.

Designing of 21 new standards for supply of products are among the measures taken by the organization to promote consumer welfare.

Full implementation of ISO 14001 and establishment of the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) standards have been among other important measures.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2.7 million lives could be saved annually with sufficient fruit and vegetable consumption; low fruit and vegetable intake is among the top 10 risk factors for global mortality.

By Financial Tribune