By Zac B. Sarian

Dr. Susan May F. Calumpang of the University of the Philippines Los Baños has identified four easy ways to remove pesticide residues in vegetables we cook. We met her at the UPLB-Media TechKnow Talks on October 1, 2016 at a Quezon City restaurant.

A scientist with the College of Agriculture’s Crop Protection Cluster, Dr. Calumpang is concerned because one can never be sure whether or not the vegetables available in the market have been sprayed with chemical pesticide just before harvest.

A lettuce leaf.

To be safe, here are her practical suggestions:

1. Mix 2 teaspoons of vinegar with 4 cups of water and use this to soak your vegetables for two minutes. This can reduce insecticide residues by up to 80 percent.

2. Mix 10 drops of liquid detergent into one liter of water and use this to wash your vegetables. Afterwards, rinse the vegetables in running tap water. This can reduce insecticide residues by 67-88 percent.

Eggplants

3. Boil vegetables. Insecticides are destroyed and broken down when they react to heat and water.

4. Broiling or grilling vegetables is another way of reducing pesticide residues. Eggplant is one vegetable that is usually broiled or grilled.

Dr. Calumpang led a team of researchers that did a research study to establish mitigating measures to minimize pesticide residues in intact and fresh-cut vegetables and sprouts.

The study was funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development or PCAARRD, an agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The research team recommends that fresh vegetables used in salads should be washed thoroughly using the above procedures if they have not been exposed to heat.

By the way, Dr. Calumpang is a Scientist 1 who is assistant to the UPLB Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension. She can be contacted at 0917.810.5546.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s November 2016 issue.