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Pesticide residue exceeds legal limit in spinach sample

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (April 5) announced that a spinach sample was detected to have pesticide residue at a level exceeding the legal limit. The CFS is following up on the case.

     A spokesman said, "Following up on a food complaint, the CFS collected the spinach sample at a shop in Yau Ma Tei for testing. The test result showed that the sample contained chlorpyrifos at a level of 1.7 parts per million (ppm), i.e. 17 times the maximum residue limit (0.1 ppm)."

     He added, "Based on the level of pesticide residue detected in the sample, adverse health effects will not be caused under normal consumption."

     Generally speaking, to reduce pesticide residues in vegetables, members of the public can 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.

     Any person who imports, manufactures or sells any food not in compliance with the requirements of the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap 132CM) concerning pesticide residues commits an offence and is liable to a maximum fine of $50 000 and to imprisonment for six months upon conviction.

     Since the regulation came into effect on August 1, 2014, the CFS has taken over 55 900 food samples at import, wholesale and retail levels for testing of pesticide residues, and a total of 140 vegetable and fruit samples (including the unsatisfactory sample announced today) have been detected as having excessive pesticide residues. The overall unsatisfactory rate is less than 0.3 per cent.

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

Ends/Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:46


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