How healthy is Taiwanese produce?

[color=red]Some highlights on this topic in red. [/color]

[quote=“Muzha Man”][quote=“jwar”]Muzha Man wrote:

The common farmer here uses far too much pesticide on his crops and has scant concern if his fields are contamininated with factory run off so I appreciate the WTO bringing in affordable foreign produce. Until I can trust the integrity of the Taiwanese farmer I don’t give a shit if they are out out of business by trade.

jwar reply:

What a cruel response.

So, you’ve verified the integrity of all the farmers of the produce brought in under the WTO? Oh, the WTO does that for you? They must love us and only want what is best for us. :notworthy:

Where are the statistics to support your position on the amount of pesticides used by Taiwanese farmers, that their lands are contaminated with run off, and that “the common farmer” doesn’t care anyway?[/quote]

I don’t need to check their integrity [color=red]as the foreign goods I buy come places like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand where agricultural inspectors do their jobs and farms are in clean areas of the country that do not allow chemical factories and the like to be set up nearby. [/color]

[color=red]About 5 years ago the EPA did a survey of rice fields in Taiwan. Several hundred or thousand (can’t remember which) hectares were closed because of heavy metal contamination[/color]. The culprit. Largely nearby factories. The EPA now has volunteers who patrol rivers and farmland to look for illegal dumping and HIDDEN pipes that pump factory effluence into fields and streams. Groundwater, often used to irragate crops is known to be polluted throughout the west coast, so we can reasonable infer that much of the produce is contaminated too.

When I first arrived in Taiwan 10 years ago I saw the factories beside rice fields in Taoyuan, Hsinchu (Xinzhu), and Miaoli Counties and stopped eating rice.

[color=red]Many people who have lived in the countryside will tell you that their families, like most, do not eat the produce they grow. They have a small section of the farm where they grow their own produce because they know they use too much pesticide on regular crops.[/color] The EPA has also complained over the years about the use of excess pesticides because it washes into rivers and pollutes watersheds. Do a web search and you’ll find various reports on the excessive use of pesticides in Asia.

My statement was not harsh, but I should have included factory owners in my condemnation. Farmers are often more ignorant than venal. However, consider the growing of betelnut in the mountains everywhere. The soil gets eroded and killer landslides every years wipe out the villages that grow the stuff in the first place. :loco: Look at all the fruit farms upstream from the Shimen Reservoir in Taoyuan. The water in the dam is hardly drinkable anymore because of the greed of local farmers.

Go to any farm and ask to see how they dispose of their waste. It’s straight into the rivers. In recent years the EPA has set up waste treatment plants around pig farms. They have found however that half the farmers don’t bother to treat their waste up claiming it is too much of a hassle. Do you remember how hard it was to get the pig farmers away from the Keelung (Jilong) river so it could be cleaned up?

[color=red]Living in Taipei I’m sure you’ve seen the number of organic shops around. Know which ones are actually real? Two. Cottonfields and the one near Wanfang hospital.[/color] The rest are bogus. Farmers will tell you their produce is organic to fetch a higher price but it’s bullshit. Pestcide residues are found all over most of the organic produce sold in the city. So much for integrity eh?

I could go on about the buchers who sell tainted meat, the candy merchants who sell snacks loaded with cancer causing agents, but I think you get the point. I’m not making this up, and if you don’t know about this you are either new to the country or living in a bubble.

Something about ducks.

I read something about heavy metal contamination in ducks. Apparently the metals are transported from the ducks to humans and it is in humans where the deposits stay.

It was a particularly toxic metal that was found in the ducks by the Environment Agency but I can’t remember the particular metal.

I’ll see if I can find the link.


It was last year, but I bet stuff like this is ongoing:

I started buying milk from a local organic food store, and was really excited because I had read reports about most of the milk here being a mix of real and powdered milk, which had turned me off to buying it. So, I thought the organic stuff would be real, fresh milk.

I had forgotten about a litre of it that I had purchased, and found it at the back of the fridge yesterday. It had expired 3 weeks ago. And guess what? It wasn’t spoiled. Perfectly fine.

Organic, my ass… :s

Bumptiddy-bump this sticky. Keep it going. I want to know more. Could i assume that some farms around Ilan and south to hualien could have a better chance of being certifiably organic? I’ve seen many steppe farming hiil farms in my travels that seem to be growing vegetables in much the same way the incas did. Irrigation comes from up in the mountains.

It seems the farmers get screwed no matter where you go. They are forced to use industrial fertilizers and pesticides in order to make a living. to be competitive.


This is a major concern for the wife & I.

Dont eat the strawberries unless you wash them 12 times in hot water and even then its pretty risky.

Why is that? Pesticides? I must have eaten quarts of the things in the last few weeks. This year has been very good for strawberries.

Why is that? Pesticides? I must have eaten quarts of the things in the last few weeks. This year has been very good for strawberries.[/quote]

You’re screwed!!! Better start monitoring your chemical levels

Ach! Havers! I’d rather have some chemicals in me blood and the memory of some delicious strawberries than miss out on the strawberries and STILL have all kinds of chemicals in me blood. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, so I do. :wink:
Anyway they can’t be any worse than the chemicals I’ve ingested by choice over the years.

Seriously, the strawberries in Taiwan are heavily laced with pesticides thru-out their growth stages and the locals tell me not to eat them or eat as little as possible. Taiwan strawberries are among the best in the world for their fragrant taste and sweetness. I used to love them but I pretty much gave them up this year after hearing so many locals warn me about them.

Locals told me to wash them 6 times in cold water and dont use salt water.

There was a demonstration stand in the basement of Sogo where a man was advertising this “wash” which you add a few drops to the water you wash your produce, let it soak for a while, and it apparently helps the pesticides leech out of the veggies/fruits…anybody have any information on this? Is it for real? They were selling two bottles for 800NT and a lot of mommy-types were lining up at the cash register…

I have seen products such as this for sale in the USA. Mothers Market, a chain health food/grocery store, has demo’s for it quite often.

I think you can get the same results by using a squirt of dish soap in the washing water and then rinsing in clean water. The tap water here has a lot of heavy metal in it. So the rinse water should be from a clean source to so any good.

[quote=“TainanCowboy”]I have seen products such as this for sale in the USA. Mothers Market, a chain health food/grocery store, has demo’s for it quite often.

I think you can get the same results by using a squirt of dish soap in the washing water and then rinsing in clean water. The tap water here has a lot of heavy metal in it. So the rinse water should be from a clean source to so any good.[/quote]

You’d get the same results but there would be a slight residue left on the fruit from the dish liquid which is not good. Those specialty sprays contain harmless ingredients.

I just try to buy fruit that can be peeled. I never buy fruit from the markets that are pre-sliced, prepped, or cut up. I’ve watched the way some folks handle the fruit and really don’t like lack of care put into it (dirty hands and surfaces). I just do it myself and feel better about what i’m eating. I feel that helps with the pesticide residues… but if the soil is contaminated, that’s a different story. I remember the first time I got out of Taipei to see some of the rest of Taiwan, and was really surprised to see how every inch of space is utilized. The rice fields were not only closely located to factories, but right underneath roads with heavy traffic. The amount of runoff that goes into those fields must be astounding… and it’s enough to make me want to stop eating the rice here, but that’s just not going to happen. rice is life here (until it kills you!). Taiwan is a small country, and I appreciate the resourcefulness that goes on as a result of it, but the department of agriculture here (or whatever it’s officially called) really needs to crack down and bust out some regulations on farming practices. :help:

the government had (has) a policy of locating factories in the middle of farm land there is lots of soil contamination, water pollution, etc. I also grew up on a farm- you can’t just wash pesticides off. many pesticides are taken up by the plant with soil and water. The pesticide is inside the vegetable/fruit. way back in 1990 foreigners and Taiwanese got an environmental group together called the Taiwan Youth Environmental Network. At that time I did two articles about water pollution and chemicals in food. If I were still in Taiwan (the pollution situation and the need to take care of my mother are why I am not), I would do the following things: Find a reputable place that sells R/O water filters and buy one (they usually will install it for you), have lots of plants in my apartment to filter out air pollution, and I would be vegetarian and get most of my produce from countries with stricter agricultural regulation like the US, Canada, etc. Here in the US I have my own garden in my backyard where we grow cherries, blackberries, strawberries, nectarines, peaches, asian pears, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc. The growing season is short in NJ. If I were in Taiwan I would choose to live in a place where I could set up a garden on the roof/balcony/backyard. I would get soil from the mountains or maybe even order garden soil over the internet (maybe that’s not practical). I would start composting from the scraps from the produce I grew to make more ‘clean’ soil (maybe even sell it). I would also get in touch with such groups as the Housewives Union and the Environmental Union (huan bao lian meng) to see what advice they had on reputable shops for waterfilters, organic produce, etc. I used to know a TaiDa professor in the Environmental Union named Zhang Guo Long. I read not long ago that he was the Taiwan EPA administrator. Does anyone know about him? What is he doing now? If he is still an administrator, are people happy with his performance?

He is the head of the EPA. He’s under a lot of pressure from environmenralist who hoped he’d do more and from the business community who don’t like all the questions they are getting from the new commissioners. See for more.

You can choose imported rice or rice from area’s that are not industrial such as parts of the east coast. Re fruits. Even if it is at the market a lot is going to be imported. Apples etc. I try for imports as much as possible.

Re handling. You have to get used to that. Same as people will hand you a glass or bowl with their finger right inside it, this used to freak me out. Maybe good training for those with OCD to get over it.

Mangoes must be local though. Can’t help eating one or two a day. They help make Taiwan living okay.

Uhm… you know they use radiation to treat apples in the US right? It makes them last longer and look nicer…
There’s so much crap in the food anyhow and go back a few years and you’ll find that both the US and Europe used most of these pesticides, so if you’re of any kind of age, you’ve most likely eaten plenty of it already, you just didn’t know about it…
Besides, having lived in Sweden when Tjernobyl blew up, I’m not really concerned about a few pesticides after having eaten radioactive crap for years :wink:
Oh, then there’s the tin food, back in the days the tins used to be sealed with lead, which leaked into the food in the tins…
So whatever you are likely to have eaten, is likely to have filled you up with enough crap over the years, so if it hasn’t killed you yet, you’re not likely to die any time soon :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s true. We are filled with crap. But I want to reduce my total lifetime exposure. And I have young children. I already covered with moles- but that has something to do with genetics and environment. I was in Moscow for 3 weeks in 86 and attended a concert for Chernoybl victims.

What about GM food. Is most of the produce imported from the US GM?
Are the Taiwanese farmers going the GM way?