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Excessive pesticide residues found in choi sum sample
     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (March 16) announced that a choi sum sample was found to contain pesticide residues at levels exceeding the legal limits. The CFS is following up on the incident.

     A CFS spokesman said, "The CFS collected the choi sum sample at import level for testing under its routine Food Surveillance Programme. The test result showed that the sample contained cyhalothrin at a level of 0.97 parts per million (ppm) and cypermethrin at a level of 13.8 ppm, i.e. 4.85 times and 6.9 times the maximum residue limit (0.2 ppm for cyhalothrin and 2 ppm for cypermethrin) respectively."

     He added, "Based on the levels of pesticide residues detected in the sample, the risk of adverse health effects is not high under usual consumption. However, adverse health impacts on high consumers cannot be ruled out. Symptoms would include nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps."

     Generally speaking, to reduce pesticide residues in vegetables, members of the public can rinse vegetables thoroughly under clean running water, and scrub produce with hard surfaces with a clean produce brush to remove dirt and substances including pesticides and contaminants from the surface and the fissures, when 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 99 100 food samples at import, wholesale and retail levels for testing of pesticide residues, and a total of 184 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 0.2 per cent.

     The CFS will follow up on the unsatisfactory result, including tracing the source and distribution of the food in question so as to safeguard public health. Investigation is ongoing.
Ends/Thursday, March 16, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:00
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