शनिबार, बैशाख १, २०८१

Chemical pesticides and some tips to reduce the pesticides residue on vegetables and fruits you eat

dilli blalIn broad sense, pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating pests. For commercial production pesticide is one of the essential elements. Different types of insects and diseases attack to the crops and farmers use pesticides to manage them. There are different types of methods to manage the pests. The most eco-friendly method is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Nepal has launched IPM technology among the farmers since 1997 in Nepal, but majority of the farmers are not incorporated in IPM program.
Ministry of Agriculture Development has emphasized to promote IPM program and prepared policy regarding use of bio-pesticides, but majority of farmers are not using bio-pesticides due to easy available, easy handling and knock down effects of chemical pesticides. The farmers who are involved in IPM program they are minimizing chemical pesticides and using bio-pesticides to manage their crops and success to manage the crops.
Chemical pesticides are poison and need to conscious during handling the pesticides. Several reports showed that Nepalese farmers are careless during use of pesticides and causing problems to their health, environment and off course health of consumers. Pesticide residues may be present in food because of the following reasons:
• direct use of pesticides on food crops;
• animal feeding on pesticide treated feed; or
• environmental contamination
Excessive pesticide residues in food may arise from the trade not observing good agricultural practice, e.g. the use of excessive pesticide and not allowing sufficient time for pesticide to decompose before harvesting ( not following the waiting period).
Today everywhere the questions raise about the residue of chemical pesticides in the vegetables and fruits. To address the voice of consumers Plant Protection Directorate has established the Rapid Pesticides Residue Analysis Laboratory in the Kalimati vegetable and fruit market. The laboratory has started its work from Asad 4, 20171, but only one laboratory with few technicians and only one machine ( Spectrophotometer) is not enough to analysis the sample residue form Kathmandu markets. Ministry of Agriculture Development is preparing plan to expand the capacity and number of Laboratory by lesion learnt from the established Laboratory in the different cities of Nepal.
Residue of pesticides are everywhere, the question is how much quantity of pesticides we can intake every day. Codex and EU has developed the standard of pesticides intake by the human. A maximum residue level or MRL is the maximum amount of residue legally permitted on food. Once residues are demonstrated to be safe for consumers, MRLs are set by independent scientists, based on rigorous evaluation of each pesticide legally authorized. They act as an indicator of the correct use of pesticides, and ensure compliance with legal requirements for low residues on unprocessed food. Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) are the upper legal levels of a concentration for pesticide residues in or on food or feed based on good agricultural practices and to ensure the lowest possible consumer exposure. Every country should develop their own MRL standard and Nepal has developed MRL standard for some foods items and it is urgent to develop the MRL standard of vegetables and fruits also.
If we are not sure that the vegetables and fruit which you are eating daily in our kitchen are free from chemical pesticides then we can reduce the residue of pesticides by following methods and steps.
• The first step in the removal of pesticide residues from the food products is washing. Washing with 2% of salt water will remove most of the contact pesticide residues that normally appear on the surface of the vegetables and fruits. Wash your produce under normal running water rather than soaking or dunking it.
• About 75-80% of pesticide reduces are removed by cold water washing. The pesticide residues that are on the surface of fruits like grapes, apples, guava, plums, mangoes, peaches and pears and fruity vegetables like tomatoes, brinjal and okra require two to three washings.
• The green leafy vegetables must be washed thoroughly. The pesticide residues from green leafy vegetables are removed satisfactorily by normal processing such as washing blanching and cooking.
• A short treatment in hot water or steam applied to most of the vegetables. Certain pesticide residues can effectively be removed by blanching. But before blanching it is very important to thoroughly pre-wash the vegetables and fruits.
• Both systemic and contact pesticides that appear on the surface of the fruits and vegetables can be removed by peeling.
• Steps such as concentration, dehydration and extraction from the raw product can further reduce pesticide residues in the end product. The net influence of processing almost always results in minimal residues in processed food.
• Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to minimize the potential of increased exposure to a single pesticide.
• Dry produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel when possible.
• Scrub firm fruits and vegetables, like melons and root vegetables.
• Discard the outer layer of leafy vegetables, such as lettuce or cabbage.
• Peel fruits and vegetables when possible.
• Trim fat and skin from meat, poultry, and fish to minimize pesticide residue that may accumulate in the fat.
In addition, you may consider growing your own garden, or participating in a community garden! This will allow you to control which pesticides, if any, are used on the food you eat. You can choose Integrated Pest Management (IPM) options that allow you to control garden pests with the least possible hazard.
If growing your own food is not possible, another option is your local farmers markets . This way, you can speak directly to the farmers about their pesticide use practices before buying their food. -Dilli Ram Sharma

प्रकाशित मिति: सोमवार, मंसिर २२, २०७१