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JIS News

Pesticides Control Authority inspector, Andre Ho-Young, has urged farmers and householders to comply with the regulations governing the use of pesticides, in order to significantly reduce the incidence of poisoning which result from improper use and handling of these chemicals.
Mr. Ho-Young was speaking at a community meeting hosted by the Pesticides Control Authority in McNie, Clarendon, recently. The event was held in observation of Pesticides Awareness Week (September 22-26).
He disclosed that because of the unwillingness of persons to comply with instructions governing the use and handling of various pesticides and household chemicals, there continues to be a fairly high incidence of poisoning. Often, children under the age of five are the victims, as parents place these chemicals in drink and water bottles, and store them improperly.
“If the farmers followed the instructions on the labels carefully, there would be a lower incidence of poisoning resulting from the fact that the maximum residue level for various crops has been exceeded. There is also a re-entry period that the label specifies, a period after which it is safe to go back into the field or consume that particular food item,” he stressed.
Mr. Ho-Young further stated that it is absolutely necessary that persons remember to wash produce very carefully before consuming them, as this could be a matter of life or death.
“It is very important that people wash food items at all times before consuming them. We cannot get rid of all the residue, but there is a maximum residue level above which the food is not safe to be consumed any at all. When the food is taken to the lab and tested, once the residue level for that food crop has been exceeded, the food is not safe for consumption,” he emphasised.
He said that while many farmers were aware of some of the general guidelines governing the use of chemicals, many, particularly older ones, disregarded these. The inspector said they often complained about the prohibitive cost of protective gear, and the discomfort experienced while using some of these plastic and rubber devices in the sun. He informed JIS News, that the rate of compliance was slightly higher among the younger generations of farmers. Pesticides Awareness Week was observed under the theme: ‘Food Safety in a Healthy Environment’.