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To eat or not to eat

As the contamination of food by chemical hazards is a global health concern, a food safety monitoring system has become an urgent need.

Consumers should be aware of food safety from shopping to eating, warn food safety experts. In Lebanon, reports stated, by the end of 2009 that high levels of pesticides were detected in Lebanese produce, fruit and vegetables, such tomatoes, strawberries, and parsley, some of which contain 25 times internationally accepted levels.

 

By beginning of 2011, other reports showed that several olive oil producers were adding certain chemical ingredients like Benzopyrene and Acrolein during the extraction stage of olive oil production. These ingredients which are also contained in some brands of imported oil, are toxic and pose a great risk to human health. Lebanon, however, is not a unique and exceptional case in the world. Major international food-related associations are calling their government for a more effective monitoring system to ensure their country’s food safety.

 

The Lebanese Government was blamed for lack of a proper legislation and for having given farmers a free hand in the use of pesticides. Experts believe that farmers lack experience as they don’t know when and how pesticides are to be used and the produce to be harvested.

 

They admit that the excess of toxins remains the main reason that stands behind the difficulty for local produce looking to access the European markets. In their opinion, in the two types of production, Bio agriculture and sustainable agriculture, pesticides and fertilizers are used in limited quantities.

 

But not only do pesticides affect human, according to experts. Wastewater pollution has always been a major problem throughout the world as the use of wastewater for irrigation infects crops, causing risks to human health.

 

The food safety problem has become increasingly troubling worldwide. The spread of the E-coli bacteria in European vegetable produce particularly in Germany caused the death of many German citizens.

 

In Taiwan, major food-related associations have recently called on the government to push for specific certificates, and reinforce lab resources and inspections as result of plasticizer contamination found in food and beverage products.

 

As today consumers wonder what and how to eat, food safety regulations prove to be vital. In Lebanon, experts ask the government to enforce food safety laws, set up laboratories for monitoring contamination of food and set microbiological standards for specific foods.

 

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