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Excessive pesticide residues found in bitter gourd and eggplant samples

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (June 2) found a bitter gourd sample and an eggplant sample with pesticide residues at levels exceeding the legal limits. The CFS is following up on the cases and reminds members of the public to prepare vegetables suitably before consumption, including rinsing and soaking them, to reduce the level of pesticide residues.

     "The CFS collected the bitter gourd and eggplant samples for testing at the import level and a supermarket in Lam Tin respectively under its regular Food Surveillance Programme. Test results showed that the bitter gourd sample contained cyhalothrin at a level of 0.1 parts per million (ppm), i.e. two times the maximum residue limit (0.05 ppm), whereas the eggplant sample contained acetamiprid at a level of 0.37 ppm, i.e. 1.85 times the maximum residue limit (0.2 ppm).

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

     To reduce pesticide residues in vegetables in general, 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 them 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.

     Since the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap 132CM) came into effect on August 1 last year, the CFS has taken over 23 000 food samples at import, wholesale and retail levels for testing for pesticide residues and a total of 83 vegetable and fruit 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 Pesticide Residues in Food 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 foods in question and taking samples for testing so as to safeguard public health. Investigation is ongoing.

Ends/Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:28


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