Seizure: The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA)  in Gelephu seized at least 65kgs of illegally imported chillies from five vegetables vendors in Gelephu on December 20.

The seized chillies were dumped at the Sershong disposal pit.

The import of chillies was banned in July this year after unacceptable levels of pesticide residue were found following tests. The government is currently importing chillies and redistributing to the dzongkhags.

According to a source, BAFRA officials were on their daily inspection when they found a sack of imported chillies in one of the vegetable shops located near the vegetable market. The team found five more shops selling the illegally imported chillies.

This is the first time in Gelephu that officials have seized chillies.

Kuensel has learnt that because of the shortage of chillies in the market, customers choose to purchase even illegally imported chillies, which could have unacceptable levels of pesticide residue.

“The public can substitute green chillies with dried red chillies available in the market or ‘dalle’ chilli that comes from the southern parts of the country or with chilli powder,” an official, who wished not be named, said.

Yeshey Dema | Tsirang