Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) in Samdrupjongkhar rejected 12 metric tonnes (MT) of green chillies imported by the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) after testing positive for the presence of pesticides yesterday.

According to the BAFRA’s letter issued to the FCB, the authority tested a truckload of green chillies imported on February 28 as per the standard operation procedure (SOP) to import safe chillies by FCB. “The consignments will be rejected as they tested positive for pesticides.”

The chillies, imported by the Food Corporation of Bhutan, were found to exceed the permissible limits of pesticides and were restricted from distribution in local markets.

“The decision had been reached in consultation with the management at the headquarter and in line with the SOP, which states that if the imported consignments test positive for the pesticides, it will be FCB’s responsibility to re-export the consignments to the country of origin,” the letter stated.

The letter stated that the FCB should re-export the consignments immediately to the country of origin and inform the BAFRA.

The complex manager at FCB’s auction yard, Sawdev Koirala, said the FCB imported the 12MT green chillies from Falakata in West Bengal, India, on February 28 and the samples were sent to BARFA for the test on the same day.

He said the chillies tested positive for the presence of pesticides yesterday and told them not to distribute after rejecting the consignments, adding that the FCB is trying to send back the consignments to the suppliers.    

“We cannot say how we would be able to send back the consignments as we need fit for consumption certificate for the export, and the BAFRA would not give the certificate as it detected the presence of high chemical,” Sawdev Koirala said.

Sawdev Koirala said that they would consult with the FCB head office and the agriculture ministry for guidance and further action if they could not re-export the consignments.

He said the FCB spent about Nu 12,43,920 to import the green chillies and paid about Nu 103.66 a kilogram of chilli. The chillies were supposed to be sent to Trashiyangtse, Trashigang and Mongar.