09:06 | 14/01/2016 Trade
Japanese sweet potatoes grown in Vietnam that turn green after boiled are safe to eat, the Agri-Food & Veterunary Authority of Singapore (AVA) clarified on January 12 in response to a widely circulated message that said the root vegetables are toxic.
Japanese sweet potatoes - Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Last week, a Facebook user posted an image of slices of Vietnam’s cooked sweet potatoes which turned green after they were kept in the refrigerator overnight and reheated in the microwave oven.
The post also quoted an unnamed doctor as saying that the sweet potatoes were grown in soil contaminated by Agent Orange, and warned others not to visit or buy agricultural products imported from Vietnam.
However, the AVA rejected the rumours as it said in a statement that “We would like to assure the public that ‘Agent Orange’ is not known to cause sweet potatoes to turn green”.
Sweet potatoes contain flavonoids (a type of anti-oxidant), and water-soluble pigments which may cause colour changes, the agency affirmed, adding that if the cooked sweet potatoes are handled and stored properly, they cannot pose a food safety concern.
According to the AVA, food imports, including sweet potatoes, are regularly tested for chemicals and other forms of contamination like heavy metals, pesticides and drug residues.
Therefore, any food products that do not meet requirements are not permitted for safe in Singapore, it said.
A representative from the Vietnamese Embassy in the country stated that right after receiving the information, the embassy was aware of the seriousness of the issue, and contacted and coordinated with local authorities to clarify and re-correct the groundless information.
The Trade Counselor at the embassy also worked with AVA representatives to ask for the agency’s check-up and result announcement./.