According to a report published by the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), pesticide residue in vegetables in Kerala markets has drastically come down. The report based on pesticide residue analysis, conducted at the laboratory of the College of Agriculture in Vellayani, says that no hazardous element was found in samples collected from the fields and vegetable vendors across the state.

The results of the tests carried out between April to June 2016, certify that not only the vegetables produced by the farmers in Kerala but also those brought from the organic farms outside the state are found safe to eat. The test results were stated in a release issued by KAU on Thursday.

However, when contacted by TOI, Thomas Biju Mathew, professor and head of the pesticide residue analytical laboratory of the KAU, who has authored the report clarified that the samples were collected from the farms claiming to be engaged in organic cultivation.

"In that sense it is a selective sampling, and the farms which do not claim to be organic are not covered in the study," he said.

He also conceded that the tests on the samples collected from vegetable samples sourced from outside Kerala, which are also being sold in some shops here, indicated some amount of pesticide residue above permissible levels.

According to the KAU release, only one of the 22 samples collected from farmers' fields in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has been found to contain residue of a pesticide, but it was well below the permissible limits.

This shows that the impact of pesticide residue analysis and public awareness has proved successful in curbing indiscreet pesticide application, the release said.

Thomas Biju Mathew said the awareness campaigns against pesticides have been particularly effective in Kerala.

A large number of farms in the state have now shifted to organic cultivation, he said.

The produces from Kasaragod, the lone district in the state which is declared as organic, have been found completely safe and devoid of any hazardous chemicals, the agriculture university's release stated.