Pesticide residues exceed legal limits in Chinese white cabbage and durian samples

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (July 15) announced that a Chinese white cabbage sample and a durian sample were found to have pesticide residues at levels exceeding the legal limits. The CFS is following up on the cases.

     A CFS spokesman said, "The CFS collected the Chinese white cabbage sample at import level and the durian sample at a stall at the Kowloon Wholesale Fruit Market in Yau Ma Tei for testing under its routine Food Surveillance Programme. The test results showed that the Chinese white cabbage sample contained phoxim at a level of 0.95 parts per million (ppm), i.e. 9.5 times the maximum residue limit (0.1 ppm), and the durian sample contained ethephon at a level of 3.8 ppm, i.e. 1.9 times the maximum residue limit (2 ppm), respectively.

     "Based on the levels of pesticide residues detected in the samples, 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. Moreover, removing the shells of hard-shelled fruits upon consumption can reduce the possible intake of pesticide residues.

     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 72 900 food samples at import, wholesale and retail levels for testing of pesticide residues, and a total of 150 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 0.3 per cent.

     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/Friday, July 15, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:50