Raw fruit from gardens in Vietnam might be fresh, but it is not without its risks.
Besides providing a scenic place to visit, gardens in the Southeast Asian country usually allow tourists to eat fruit directly from their trees.
However, consuming fruit before washing or peeling it can increase the risk of health issues.
According to Dr. Tran Thi Minh Hanh, general secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Association for Food and Nutrition, not all gardeners follow the rules that prohibit the use of pesticides, especially close to harvest.
Chemical pesticide residues can increase the risk of cancer and other serious long-term diseases, while dirt and dust on the skin of fruit can include parasites like pinworm, hookworm, hairworm, and liver fluke.
“Don’t eat fruit directly from the garden. Take a little time to wash it first. It might take a minute or two, but in return you’ll reduce the risk of disease,” said Associate Professor Dr. Nguyen Duy Phong.
According to Dr. Phong, farmers in other countries adhere to a strict set of procedures to ensure their fruit’s health and safety, and take full responsibility for visitors who might become ill after eating their produce.
This is not the case in Vietnam, however, meaning eating raw fruits is not advisable.
Dr. Hanh suggested only eating fruits directly from the garden if their skins cannot be consumed.
These fruits would include oranges, dragon fruit, rambutans, and mangosteens, among others.
When the skins of fruits like strawberries, grapes, or tomatoes are consumed, it is recommended that people wash them thoroughly before eating.