High levels of pesticides found in lettuce, AVA issues recall

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High levels of pesticides in lettuce has prompted the the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) to issue a recall. Read more here...

High levels of pesticides in lettuce has prompted the the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) to issue a recall.

In a press release on 4 October 2018,  AVA revealed that it had detected high levels of Fipronil, a wide-spectrum pesticide, in iceberg lettuce from a Malaysian farm. The lettuce is usually sold in NTUC Fairprice and Sheng Siong supermarkets.

AVA has directed the importer to recall the implicated product.

Pesticides in lettuce detected in these products

Here are the details of the affected products:

Brand name: Pasar

  • Supplier code (As marked out in the picture): 40
  • Weight: 400g
  • Country of origin: Malaysia
  • Product for sale at NTUC Fairprice
src=https://sg admin.theasianparent.com/wp content/uploads/sites/12/2018/10/lettuce 1 1.jpg High levels of pesticides found in lettuce, AVA issues recall

PHOTO: AVA

Product name: Iceberg lettuce

  • Weight: 400g
  • Country of origin: Malaysia
  • Product for sale at Sheng Siong
src=https://sg admin.theasianparent.com/wp content/uploads/sites/12/2018/10/lettuce 2 1.jpg High levels of pesticides found in lettuce, AVA issues recall

PHOTO: AVA

“Consumers who have purchased the affected products may contact the respective supermarket retail outlets for enquiries”, said AVA.

AVA also advises that, “As a good food safety practice, consumers should wash and soak vegetables to remove any pesticide residues, prior to cooking and consumption.”

Meanwhile, a Sheng Siong spokesperson has told Channel NewsAsia that, “Customers who have purchased the affected product from Sheng Siong may return the product with its proof of purchase to any of our stores for a full refund.”

The supermarket chain has removed the affected products from its shelves. It has brought in iceberg lettuce from a different supplier.

Tips to remove pesticides from fruits and vegetables

News of high levels of wide-spectrum pesticides in lettuce is indeed worrying. A wide-spectrum pesticide refers to a pesticide that is used for targeting or killing a wide variety of pests. Mums and dads, here are some simple tips to remove pesticides from fruits and vegetables:

  • Wash well before consumption

Wash fruits and vegetables well before consumption, especially the base of vegetable stems.

Vegetables should be soaked in a clean bowl, and not in the sink (As the sink may contain bacteria). A 30-second rinse followed by a 15-minute soak, and a final rinse will help to remove most of the pesticide residue.

  • The baking soda method

Baking soda can be used safely to clean fruit and vegetables before cooking. It is said to be effective in removing certain pesticides.

  • Put fruit and vegetables in a bowl and cover with water. Mix in a spoonful or two of baking soda.
  • Soak for about 30 minutes.
  • Rinse the fruit and vegetables thoroughly and pat dry before eating or cooking.

This method of cleaning is especially useful you want to eat fruit and vegetables with the skin on.

  • For fruits

Peeling  fruits is effective for eliminating pesticide residue. It is best to wash fruits before eating.

Sometimes citrus fruits may be sprayed with a thin layer of wax to keep them looking fresh. You can remove the wax coating by scrubbing well and rinsing it, or soaking it in hot water.

  • For root vegetables

Root vegetables such as carrot and potatoes should be scrubbed under running water or in a basin before rinsing and soaking to remove dirt or residue from their surface.

Peeling them can help in reducing the pesticide residue further.

  • For mushrooms

With mushrooms, the concern is that they tend to get too soggy if they are soaked and washed.

The best way to remove pesticide residue from mushrooms without affecting their taste, is to wash them gently under running water and immediately pat them dry.

Also READ: Study shows high levels of pesticide residue in oatmeal, cereals

(Source: AVA, Channel NewsAsia, The Straits Times)