Warning over ‘unreliable’ quality test kits for fruit and vegetables

It is claimed that the devices detect chemical fertilisers and pesticides used to grow fruits and vegetables, but Dubai officials say they are unreliable.

DUBAI // Dubai officials are warning that portable test kits claiming to check quality of produce, fish and meat are unreilable.

The Green Test Eco devices sold online have become popular because of claims they detect chemical fertilisers and pesticides used in production of fruits and vegetables.

However, Amin Mohammed, director of Dubai Central Laboratory, said the equipment does not provide correct results.

“Such tests should be carried out by laboratory specialists using certified equipment that gives accurate results,” he said.

The use of the products has become popular because of videos posted on social media.

Municipality experts compared tests using the devices with tests using their own equipment, and found significant differences in findings. The results were confirmed by an international agency.

The device is meant to be used to detect nitrogen fertilisers used to grow produce, rather than pesticides, Mr Mohammed said.

Iman Al Bastaki, director of the municipality’s food safety department, urged the public to ignore claims made about the device’s effectiveness.

“The competent laboratories of the ministry and the regulatory bodies examine more than 400 insecticides,” said Ms Al Bastaki.

“The country is also linked to regional and global early warning systems – through the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment – through which any food that may pose a risk to consumers is reported.”

Regulatory bodies in the UAE coordinate through the ministry, she said. Dubai receives more than 10 million tonnes of food per year from about 200 countries.

“All these foods are subject to a strict regulatory system based on 24 hours through inspectors, the unknown soldiers,” she said.

“They apply the latest scientific methods in food inspection and testing, in addition to applying a control system at the source, which is in coordination with the regulatory authorities in the countries that produce the food.”

The municipality has many methods to detect contamination, and its laboratories have equipment that meets the highest standards, she said.

Ms Al Bastaki said the municipality urged the public to avoid exchanging false information and to communicate with municipal authorities, which follows scientific methods in examination and research.