Roadside Grown Foods Safe to Eat

There is a lot of food available in cities, from plants that grow like weeds to fruit trees and bushes that have been abandoned or planted just for beauty. But is this food too contaminated to be eaten? Probably not, according to the two groups of scientists who tested it.

Civil Eats reports that Boston League city canneries teamed up with researchers from Wellesley College, led by Professor of geological and geophysical sciences Dan Brabander to check levels of lead and arsenic in fruit and herbs they collected throughout the city, including on the roadsides. Road dust can contain heavy metals, hence the concern.

Lead and arsenic levels were found, but low. For example, apples have 0.5-1.2 micrograms of lead per gram, which is comparable to fruits from the grocery store . This makes sense, since contaminated soil does not always grow contaminated food, according to the Berkeley team:

According to [statistics professor Philippe Starck ], for all types of grown greens that [Berkeley’s] group sent for testing, “we found that even in soils with relatively high lead concentrations (700 ppm), heavy metal levels are not a concern. eat in moderation. ” But Stark also advises foragers to wash well any plants they find. “Dust and dirt on the leaves can contain dangerous levels of lead and other substances,” he adds.

These studies are small and cannot guarantee that dandelions growing in your area are edible, but they are a promising start to research in this area. Find out more about safe urban feeding at the link below.

Is food collected in cities safe? | Civic food

Photo by Liz West .

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