Now its time for Indian basmati rice to spread its fragnance in the US.The country is going to export the basmati to US after a long time as the US government has rejected the consignment of the export of basmati from india due to the traces of tricyclazole – a fungicide in 2011.
Tricyclazole is a systemic fungicide used by all major rice growing countries including India to control ‘blast’, a disease that results in heavy yield loss. The safety profile of Tricyclazole, registered in 23 countries, is well documented. While the European Union has a maximum residue limit (MRL) of 1 ppm, Japan has allowed MRL of 3 ppm for the fungicide.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has recently fixed the import tolerance for tricyclazole in Indian rice at 3 parts per million (ppm). This is much above the levels detected in Indian basmati consignments which was decided at 0.12 ppm in August 2011 by the US authorities.
Rajen Sundaresan, Secretary of the All India Rice Exporters Association,said that now more rice producers have to come in play as the volume of rice is to increase so that the expot can be done at ease.
Tricyclazole traces detected in basmati were clearly well within the maximum and safety limits prescribed by other OECD nations such as Japan and the European Union. Yet, the US rejected shipments as the fungicide – meant to be used for rice in tropical countries – was not registered in that country and there was no minimum level.
Since the US did not have any maximum limit, it followed the Indian cap of 0.02 ppm which was set at a default value many years ago, to screen Indian basmati consignments into the US. But when the issue arose in 2011, the presence of tricyclazole residues in basmati grain was above this limit of 0.02 ppm.
Detection of tricyclazole traces in the basmati rice resulted in heavy losses for the Indian rice industry so to resolve the issue Indian rice exporters took up the issue with the US authorities jointly with Dow which is submitted to EPA an Import Tolerance Petition comprising of over 12,000 pages of scientific and technical evidence supporting a tolerance level of 3.0 ppm of tricyclazole in rice on On September 19, 2012.
Suresh Ramachandran, Country Manager, Dow AgroSciences India Pvt Ltd said that the data in Dow was drew upon Japan’s experience with this fungicide. “Residue data from Japan was chosen because it has the most conservative good agricultural practices (GAP). By using the residue data from the most conservative GAP, Dow’s proposed tolerance supported the worst-case scenario for residues, and all other uses, as the expected residues will be well below the proposed tolerance,”
The data generated by the dow is beneficial for the rice traders as it revised the MRL from 0.02 to 3 ppm in 2013.This will also benefits the tea planter in the country.
Fixing MRL limit will encourage the rice exporters to ship more basmati rice to the US.
The US authorities have also detected traces of some other fungicides like isoprothiolane, buprofezin and carbendazium in the Indian shipments but the amount of tricyclazole was the most visible of all.