How safe is our food

Minus GMOs, Our Food Is Still Unsafe. Find Out how?

With the talk of how safe GMO food is or is not, I think several factors make our food unsafe. Even without including GMOs, the foods we are eating are still dangerous.

Though we have regulatory agencies mandated to ensure the food we consume is safe, most of the unsafe food still finds its way into the market.

The high level of pesticide residues in our foods is responsible for most diseases. Diseases and pests have mutated creating a level of resistance to most chemicals.

Residue levels represent the number of chemicals left in the harvested crop after spraying. The levels vary with the post-harvest intervals (PHI).

Very few farmers observe recommended post-harvest intervals (PHI) of most pesticides. What is worrying most is that most farmers can only afford the less costly pesticides which tend to remain in the soil and water for many years.

Many of these chemicals have been banned from agricultural use in developed countries due to their detrimental effects. However, they are still used in many developing countries.

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Case studies

Milk with antibiotics

Most dairy farmers do not follow veterinary advice of disposing of a sick cow’s milk after the administration of antibiotics.

How does this happen? A cow is administered antibiotics made up of heavy metals. The veterinarian recommends the milk is not good for human consumption and should be disposed of for a given period depending on the antibiotic used.

Due to the high cost of feeds, most farmers cannot afford to lose milk for ten days. The farmer disposes of the milk on the first two or three days and then continues to sell it from the third day.

Most milk buyers do not test antibiotics in the milk. So the milk finds its way to processing and into the market with the same high level of antibiotics concentration. This ends in your morning cup of tea.

Pork, mutton and chicken

The case is the same for pork, mutton and also poultry. High levels of chemical boosters used to shorten the maturity period and lower the cost of feeding are another threat. Who checks how safe the chicken we eat in the market is?

How is the case with vegetables? Farmers apply pesticides without caring about the maximum levels or their concentration. They are even sprayed on the eve of harvesting to keep them fresh. The same vegetables find their way onto your plate.

Does the consumer have the ability to do traceability? NO. Their concern is just price; how cheap it is.

Most AFRICAN agricultural markets have no STRUCTURES of measuring pesticide residue levels of FARM FOODS circulating in their mass markets.

What about organic?
How safe is our food
spinach vegetable Image: courtesy

Are organic products safe? I believe a product is as good as the materials and processes involved in its formation. An organic product SHOULD be that which has been grown using organic inputs only.

Can we do without pesticides? NO. Pesticide uses prevent large crop losses. The high population pressure especially in developing countries is requiring an 80% increase in food production expected to come from either increase in yields or the number of times each year crops can be grown on the land (FAO).

Read Also

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How to farm the most consumed beans; Yellow beans

Simplified fertilizers application and spray guidelines for maize farming

According to WHO; consumers can limit their intake of pesticide residues by peeling or washing fruit and vegetables which also reduces foodborne hazards such as harmful bacteria.

Pesticides and antibiotic residues are just one factor; what about aflatoxins in cereals and processed foods? Before supporting or rejecting GMOs, leaders should think about how to solve this monster first.

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