Are the Fruits of Ornamental Plants Suitable for Consumption?


          During Chinese New Year, people like to display ornamental plants for decoration, such as potted kumquat trees, which symbolize prosperity and good luck. After New Year, some people may pick the fruits for consumption or making salted kumquats. However, in order to keep the plant attractive and prevent pests, it may be sprayed with pesticide during cultivation and prior to sale, leaving pesticide residues on the flowers and fruits. Depending on the nature of pesticide, usage, amount and duration of intake, consuming fruits that contain pesticide residues may result in acute or long term adverse health effects. Therefore do not consume the fruits of ornamental plants or use them to make salted kumquats.


Q: Will pesticide residues on potted kumquats decompose naturally after displaying for some time?

A: The type of pesticide used and the time of application will vary according to the intended use of the crop, thus the distribution of pesticide residues on the crop and the time needed for decomposition will vary as well. In fact, potted kumquats are not cultivated for eating purpose. Therefore it is better to avoid eating potted kumquats.


Q: Can pesticide residues on potted kumquats be reduced after going through the washing process like fruits and vegetables?

A: Potted kumquats are cultivated as ornamental plants, not for the purpose of human consumption. Their cultivation conditions, the type and dosage of pesticide used are different from edible fruits and vegetables, thus we should not treat them as fruits. Even washing the potted kumquats may not be able to reduce the pesticide residues level significantly. Therefore it is advised not to consume potted kumquats.