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CFS finds excessive pesticide residues in choi sum and grapefruit samples

    The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (December 10) found a choi sum sample and a grapefruit sample with pesticide residues at levels exceeding legal limits. The CFS is following up on the cases and reminding members of the public to prepare vegetables and fruit suitably, including rinsing and soaking vegetables and rinsing fruit thoroughly, to reduce the levels of pesticide residues.

     A CFS spokesman said, "The CFS collected the aforesaid samples for testing at retail level under its regular Food Surveillance Programme. Test results showed that the choi sum sample contained chlorpyrifos at a level of 0.76 parts per million (ppm), i.e. 7.6 times the maximum residue limit (0. 1 ppm). The grapefruit sample was detected to contain thiabendazole at a level of 13 ppm, i.e. about 30 per cent over the maximum residue limit (10 ppm).

     "Based on the levels of pesticide residues detected in the two samples, adverse health effects will not be caused by normal consumption."

     To reduce the pesticide residues of vegetables and fruit, the spokesman reminded members of the public to rinse vegetables several times under running water, then soak them in water for one hour, or blanch the vegetables in boiling water for one minute and discard the water. To further reduce the intake of pesticide residues, the outer leaves or peel of the vegetables can also be removed as appropriate. With regard to fruit, consumers should rinse them thoroughly under running water before consumption. To further reduce the intake of pesticide residues, the public can also peel the fruit before consumption.

     Since the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap. 132CM) came into effect on August 1, the CFS has taken over 9 300 food samples at import, wholesale and retail levels for testing for pesticide residues and a total of 34 vegetable samples (including the unsatisfactory samples announced today) have been detected as having excessive pesticide residues. The overall unsatisfactory rate is less than 0.4 per cent. Any person who imports, manufactures or sells any food not in compliance with the requirements of the Regulation concerning pesticide residues commits an offence and is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and to imprisonment for six months upon conviction.

     The CFS will follow up on the unsatisfactory results, including tracing the sources and distribution of the food in question and taking different samples for testing so as to safeguard public health. Investigation is ongoing.

Ends/Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:26


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