Wash green leafy vegetables thoroughly, UNDP warns

WASH green leafy vegetables under running water until all chemical residues are gone before consumption.

This was the word from United Nations Development Programme Markets for Change project training co-ordinator Vikash Kumar.

“All chemicals are harmful if consumed by humans and in the case of pesticides especially, if the proper withholding periods are not followed then the level of chemicals being ingested could be quite high,” he said.

Mr Kumar said a survey conducted by UNDP uncovered a serious lack of understanding of the application and management of pesticides by fruit and vegetable farmers.

“What we have found is that farmers are spraying green leafy vegetables with pesticides and taking them to the market the very next day.

“So they are not observing the withholding period which can last anywhere from seven days to 14 days.

“Withholding periods allow chemicals to be broken down to levels which are not as harmful if consumed by humans.”

Mr Kumar said the only way to minimise potential risks during food consumption was to wash green leafy vegetables under running water for at least two or three times.

“There are links between pesticide use and abuse and food because most of the crops people buy at the market are eaten fresh and if they are not washed thoroughly under running water, the pesticide residue can be consumed.

“Even when it is cooked, it is only broken down a little bit. And if you eat green leafy vegetables every week, you can imagine the accumulated amount of chemicals in your system over time.”

Mr Kumar was the co-ordinator of the UNDP’s Pest and Disease Clinic which was held at the Ba Municipal Market yesterday.

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