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Study: Eating Fruit Peel Not Harmful to Human Health

Posted December. 02, 2009 07:52,   


Contrary to conventional wisdom, consumers need not worry over eating fruit peel since it does not contain a large amount of agrochemicals.

The Korea Food and Drug Administration yesterday announced the results of an agrochemical residue study of 4,776 fruits such as apples, pears, persimmons and grapes sold at large discount stores and open-air markets from 2007 to last year.

It found that 99.8 percent of the fruits contained little or no agrochemical residue. Only nine fruits -- six tangerines, two peaches and one apple -- exceeded the maximum safety level for such residue.

Park Seon-hee, a manager at the food watchdog’s food standard department, said, “Some fruits turned out to have agrochemical residue exceeding the maximum safety level. Yet they can also be eaten without fear because agrochemical residue that remains on the peel can easily be washed away with water or fruit detergent.”

“Farmers have recently used agrochemicals that do not accumulate in the human body. Also, the half-life of agrochemicals, or the period needed until half of the agrochemicals dissipate into the air, is between a day and two months.”

BHC and DDT, agrochemicals used in the 1960s and 70s, had a half-life of more than 50 years, meaning old agrochemicals could reside inside the human body or underneath the soil.

Korea bans the import of harmful agrochemicals.

“The study showed that fruits directly delivered from fruit farms cause no damage to humans even when they’re eaten without washing. We conducted the large-scale study since Koreans insist on paring fruit, unlike people in other nations,” Park said.

Comprising 10-32 percent of a fruit’s weight, peel contains nutrients such as polyphenol compound, which helps prevent chronic diseases. When pared, pears lose 10 percent of their nutrients, apples 12 percent, persimmon 16 percent, and grapes 32 percent.

Studies show that apple peel’s red pigment contains flavonoids and anthocyanin, both of which prevent chronic diseases. Grape peel can guard against dementia and that of persimmons against cancer.

On its homepage, the Korea Food & Drug Administration provides tips to easily remove agrochemical residue in vegetables and fruits.