MYROLE RTM1- Featured GrASS on 25 Jan 2011, 330pm

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Dear Friends,

We here at GrASS need your help to help us gather the below mentioned items to help us raise funds for our shelter and other independent pet rescuers.

The items are:

Scrap Paper
Old Newspapers
Old Magazines
Unwanted uncooked/raw Acidic Fruits ( Oranges, pineapples, lime,lemons)
Unwanted uncooked/raw fruits
Unwanted uncooked/raw Vegetables
Brown Sugar
Rice Bran
Red Earth
Glass Jars/Plastic containers with lids
Cardboard boxes (any other cardboard materials)
Aluminium Cans
Expired Food Products

For more ways on how or what items you can donate to help please visit HERE

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Article: For fresh greens

Tuesday September 1, 2009


Here are some tips for avoiding chemical-laden vegetables.

MANY health-conscious Malaysians face a dilemma when it comes to purchasing vegetables. They know the importance of a diet rich in greens, but are wary about that nice-looking Chinese spinach being drenched in a cocktail of pesticides to keep its leaves hole-free.

Ideally, one should buy organic greens but this will strain the average household's grocery budget due to the premiums charged by organic farmers. One of the major costs of organic farming is its labour input as weeding and tilling are generally done manually.

Soak them: Immerse vegetables with skins, such as brinjal, in water for half an hour to remove pesticide residues.

Perhaps one way out is to go organic for vegetables known to be grown using lots of agro-chemicals, while buying conventionally grown produce for those which are not.

The Pesticide Control Board under the Department of Agriculture prescribes a guideline called the Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) to vegetable farmers. MRL refers to the highest allowable residue of a range of pesticides, fungicides and weedicides that are registered for use. In general, agro-chemical producers also recommend a "cool off" period prior to harvesting so as to allow the residues to wear off before produce reach the market.

The Food Safety and Quality Division of the Health Ministry conducts monthly sampling of vegetables using the MRL markers. In an analysis of 478 samples collected between January and June, all were found to be safe except for seven which had pesticide residues above the MRL.

Three were leafy vegetables, two were chillies and the remaining two were fruit type vegetables (tomato, cucumber, brinjal, bitter gourd and young corn). Bean and squash samples, as well as root type vegetables like carrot, potato, onion, ginger and groundnuts, were within safe limits.

While there is no authoritative list on which vegetables are saturated with chemicals and which are grown with less agro-chemical applications, checks with some farmers give an idea of the levels of contamination in various groups of commonly available vegetables.

Leafy vegetables like Chinese spinach, kailan and siew pak choy tend to be sprayed heavily with a myriad of insecticides. One can sometimes detect the chemical residues from the bitter stench in the cooked leaves.

Those bright red chillies? They are the result of the application of five types of pesticides and fungicides before harvest. So, opt for cili padi or grow your own chilli plant – in a pot if you do not have a garden.

The skins on vegetables like brinjal, tomato, bitter gourd and squash are thought to shield them from excessively sprayed chemicals. One farmer advises soaking them in water for 30 minutes as the pesticides are mostly water-soluble.

Organic farmer Dr Ng Poh Kok says it is almost impossible to determine a safe level of exposure to chemicals in vegetables. He suggests incorporating some "rural vegetables" into the urban family diet. Tuber-producing plants such as tapioca and sweet potato produce edible leaves.

Sweet potato leaves used to be considered a poor man's vegetable but has since become a popular Chinese restaurant dish, and is grown with relatively little chemical input. Tapioca leaves which are blanched and eaten as ulam in traditional Malay culinary, are generally not sprayed with or boosted by any chemicals.

Ng cautions that water spinach (kangkung) that is grown in waterways is exposed to heavy metals absorption through the roots. He suggests choosing the short-stemmed variety that thrives on soil and is a secondary vegetable in commercial farms that are spared from harmful chemical applications. And instead of consuming the usual leaves and beans, go for shoots, fruits and flowers such as young jackfruits, papaya flowers, ginger, bamboo shoots, ferns and herbs.

So, the next time you walk by the organic vegetable section of the supermarket, consider dropping a packet or two of leafy greens and beans into your shopping trolley. As consumers, we can play a role in shaping the future of vegetable farming through our spending power.

This article was taken from: The Star Online: Lifestyle: Focus 1 September 2009

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