English | Dzongkha Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Consumer safety

Sep 24, 2011

There are concerns that consuming vegetables and fruits imported from India over a long period of time may not be safe.

Most of the vegetables sold at the centenary farmer’s market in Thimphu are imported from the neighbouring Indian states where farmers use chemical fertilizers extensively.

It appears that the safety concern may be misplaced.

The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority, BAFRA, which is responsible for food safety, said they send samples of vegetables imported from India for tests in Thailand.

Jamyang Phuntsho, the chief lab officer, said test results, so far, did not show that there is anything to be alarmed about.

He said either the tests failed to “detect” or the chemical use is “within the permissible limit.”

Most consumers prefer local vegetables for health reasons. They also claim that the vegetables grown within the country where farmers use comparatively less chemical fertilisers taste better.

“We like local vegetables but they are difficult to get,” said one shopper at the centenary farmers market this weekend.

They are also more expensive. And the production cannot meet the demand.

“We bring vegetables from India because what we produce within the country is not enough,” according to a vegetable vendor.

Though tests did not indicate any health hazard, consumers are advised to wash the vegetables and fruits thoroughly.

Dr Ugyen Dophu, the public health director, said washing the vegetables thoroughly will help “remove the chemical content on the surface and cooking in high temperature will weaken the chemicals.”

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