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Why would pesticide residues appear in food?

Why would pesticide residues appear in food?

The Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap. 132CM) will come into operation on 1 August 2014. You may wonder why pesticide residues would appear in our food. In fact, pesticides have a role to play in food security. In general, they are applied to prevent and control crops infestation. Proper use of pesticides can reduce crop damage by pests and increase the crop yield. Small amounts of pesticides may remain in crops following its application under Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) or as a result of environmental contamination. In general, the levels of pesticide residues in food should be low and do not pose health concern if GAP has been followed. With proper use of pesticides, consumers can enjoy a large variety of safe and wholesome produce, which is pest- and disease-free.

Advice to the Public

  • Purchase vegetables and fruits from reliable source;
  • Wash vegetables thoroughly under clean running water.
  • When appropriate, scrub produces with hard surfaces with a clean produce brush to remove dirt and substances including pesticides and contaminants from the surface and the fissures.
  • Use of soaps, special detergents or produce washes is not recommended.
  • Soaking in water and blanching are effective in terms of removing dirt and reducing pesticide residues, but they are no longer considered necessary in the face of nutrient loss in the processes.
  • Consuming plenty of vegetables are an essential component of a healthy and balanced diet. Members of the public are advised to maintain a healthy and balanced diet as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

Advice to the Trade

  • Only purchase registered pesticides which are properly labelled and packaged;
  • Choose appropriate pesticides for different crops and pests concerned;
  • Observe safety guidelines on the use and handling of pesticides issued by regulatory authorities.
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Last Revision Date : 15-03-2015