Chief Environmental Health Officer Lionel Michael is urging residents who have gotten into the practice of praedial larceny for profit to consider the wider implications of this behaviour.

 In addition to greatly inconveniencing hard-working farmers, and possibly facing criminal charges, Michael warns that this activity could be an avenue for chemically contaminated food to be sold to unsuspecting consumers.

 He explained that while farmers are knowledgeable about best practices when using agrochemicals, persons involved in stealing produce are playing a dangerous guessing game.

“Miss Natasha would have a farm of lettuce or cabbage and she would spray it with pesticide to get rid of pests and so on. But somebody doesn’t know when they were sprayed, and they go and what do they do? They steal. They don’t know what’s on them and they sell that to the public as if they grow them themselves. That is where you have a very serious chemical hazard,” Michael stated.

The CEHO further said that although he is not aware of any fatal incidents occurring in the BVI linked to this activity, it has happened elsewhere in the world and is a possibility that should not be taken lightly.

 He urged praedial larcenists to immediately desist from such activities.