How can I ensure my vegetables are safe to eat?

Monday November 30 2020
By Dr Paul Kasenene

I avoid eating vegetables because they are sprayed with lots of chemicals. How can I look out for clean sources of the foods I eat? Bernard

A lot of the vegetables available to us today have indeed been indiscriminately sprayed with herbicides and pesticides, sometimes even after harvesting. 

Because of the challenges in ensuring high quality agricultural products, the problem is even worse because sometimes, the chemicals sprayed are quite harmful.

However unfortunate this is, we cannot afford to reduce the amount of vegetables we eat since these are the most nutritious foods that offer the best chance of fighting cancer, boosting our immunity and maintain a healthy weight.  I think the solution is two-fold. 

First, we should all be looking to find better and trusted sources of food. There is a growing number of certified farmers that grow organic food without or with minimal use of harmful chemicals. While it may take some effort to find them, it is worth it.

 With a little bit of planning and effort, we can all begin to grow some of our own food such as tomatoes, leafy vegetables even if we have small spaces at home. This can be done even on the balcony. 


Also, take caution with waxed foods such as eggplants and bell peppers. If the food is too shiny or looks artificial, it may have been waxed. 

In some countries, there are some foods known to be higher in toxic chemicals, and some have even produced a list of the most contaminated foods. 

Ultimately, it is up to us to make an effort to look for better sources of food.

Secondly, whenever you buy vegetables, fruit or any other food that is often subjected to chemicals, try to remove as much of the chemicals as possible. Washing thoroughly with water is important to remove any visible and surface chemicals.

 But go further and soak them in clean water and add some sodium bicarbonate, vinegar (such as apple cider) and even add some freshly squeezed lemon. These have been shown to help remove pesticides and chemicals. Rinse once again with water. 

 While it is important to eat the skin/peel, sometimes it may be acceptable to peel the food if the level of contact with chemicals is high.