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Warning over Indian vegetables

2nd August 2010

Farmers in India are contaminating some of their fruits and vegetables by injecting oxytocin, a hormone often given to women in labour, health officials say


Junior minister of state for health, Dinesh Trivedi, said that oxytocin injections were being used by fruit and vegetable growers, so that the plants would grow more quickly.

Fruits likely to be contaminated with the hormone include jackfruit, pumpkin, watermelon, aubergine, and cucumber.

Trivedi said that using oxytocin in produce was a public health risk, and that the drug was known to cause nervous breakdowns, sterility, and other side effects.

Oxytocin is a hormone naturally found in the mammalian brain, often used by clinicians to induce labour in pregnant women, as well as to control bleeding and stimulate lactation.

The drug is cheaply available in India, where it is classified as a Schedule H drug.

Trivedi said that, in India, the hormone was only legal for use in animals, such as milk cows, and was available in many general stores.

He said that vegetables should not be contaminated by farming methods, and that public authorities should be on the look-out for agricultural oxytocin use, which was known by many different names.

Experts say that it is difficult to identify fruits and vegetables that have been grown using oxytocin.

Rekha Sharma, former nutritionist at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said that it was difficult for ordinary people to tell whether or not a something had been grown without chemicals or hormones.

She said that, although eating just a little bit of produce that had been contaminated with the hormone would not harm people, there was no way for doctors to predict the long-term effects of high oxytocin exposure, and that there was no law in place penalising farmers who used the drug.

Trivedi also said that other chemicals, such as copper sulphates, were routinely used to give Indian-grown fruits and vegetables an artificial lustre.

He said that he hoped these toxins would be given government scrutiny and regulated.

VM Katoch, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that his organisation had been aware of oxytocin use for nearly two decades.

He said that there were still no reports showing that fruits and vegetables grown with oxytocin would constitute a human health risk.


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Tuesday 3rd August 2010 @ 14:55

I'm amazed at the naivety of Dr. Katoch's reaction about the safety of Oxytocin that 'there are no reports of its adverse effect on human beings..' The debate over this hormone's harmful effects on humans
has long been over...if it's bad to ingest it through bovine milk, then why won't it be so with fruits and vegetables? Duh...!!!
The director of ICMR should wake up and smell the
danger..then go do something about it - if cares about public health and doing his job right!

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