Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hong Kong: eat your greens?

A hundred and thirty-odd years ago, Karl Marx commented somewhere in Das Kapital that "man has been abusing food ever since he started selling it."

True, Karl, so true. Just look at today's frontpage story in all the local papers, which report the Greenpeace Hong Kong investigation and findings that Parknshop (百佳) and Wellcome (惠康), the biggest supermarket chains in the territory, are selling some types of vegetables containing illegal pesticide and excessive pesticide residue.

The supermarkets, of course, don't grow all those pesticide-laden vegetables, they buy them from farmers across the border in China. Farmers who, to be charitable, don't know what they are doing. Or, less charitably, couldn't care less as long as the crops grow, and they can sell their produce to the wholesalers as well as to the buyers from the two supermarket chains. Such are the demands of a poorly and/or unregulated market-driven system. Greenpeace report

As a public service to readers, here are pre-emptive measures to minimise pesticide poisoning due to consumption of vegetables:
* Remove the outer leaves
* Wash well in clean water for several times
* Immerse vegetables in water for one hour and then rinse
* Cook thoroughly before consumption
Courtesy of a Hong Kong Government press release

Bon Appétit!

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