Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has revealed that some Ghanaians may be consuming poisonous fruits and vegetables as some farmers have been flouting safety standards for production and packaging.
Some farmers and vendors, according to the Agency, are using chemicals to maintain freshness and preserve vegetables and fruits.
Speaking to Citi News, the Director of Chemicals and Registrar of Pesticides at the EPA, Dr Sam Adu-Kumi, noted that, although the practice is criminal, some farmers do not observe the 10-day pre-harvest interval.
As part of the regulatory requirement, farmers are required to keep their products off the market for at least ten days after applying any chemical on them.
“They have to calculate and make sure that when they spray, there is always some days before the food is harvested and gets to the consumers. This will reduce the chemical residue because the chemical they use is harmful and not for human consumption,” Dr Adu-Kumi noted.
He maintained that monitoring the activities of farmers is very challenging as they would have to test every fruit and vegetable before it gets unto the market.
The EPA, however, said it is working with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to sensitise the public on best practices before the consumption of foodstuffs.
Dr Adu-Kumi also urged the public to take preventive measures after purchasing fruits and vegetables.
“If you purchase the foodstuffs from the market, try to apply some best practices by not cooking it immediately but rather leaving it there for some few days for the chemical to break down.”
He further advised consumers to “wash [produce] very well with water and try as much as possible to remove the outer cover of the vegetables.”