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Journal ID : TMJ-26-08-2021-10600
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Title : The Heavy Metals and Microbial Profile of Organic Vegetables in Malaysian Retail

Abstract :

Organic foods including organic vegetables become more popular among the consumer because of the perception that the production of organic food is safer, healthier and environmental friendly. There is limited scientific study to understand the food safety aspect of organic vegetables in Malaysia. Therefore, this paper aimed to provide insights on organic food safety by focusing on three comparative scientific studies conducted on vegetables in Malaysian retail. All the vegetable samples analyzed did not detect lead concentration. There was a significant difference between the mean concentrations of zinc in organic and conventional vegetables (p=0.01) while there was no significant difference between mean concentrations of cadmium in organic and conventional vegetables (p=0.11). Zinc concentration in leafy and fruit-like vegetables was significant (p=0.00). As for local and imported organic vegetables, only copper was detected and only tomato shows significant difference between the origins of the vegetables (p=0.02). This study also revealed 13.9% (E. coli) and 90.3% (Staphylococcus aureus) did not meet the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) guidelines for microbiological quality. In overall, no substantial trend was shown in the difference in crop farming system (organic or conventional) or type of origin in organic vegetables (local or imported) to pose greater heavy metal risks however difference in organic certification influenced microbiological quality status. This study has profiled a reference point for organic vegetables from Malaysian retail to further understand the farming and its produce.

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