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Excessive pesticide residues found in papaya and water spinach samples
     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (August 28) announced that a papaya sample and a water spinach sample were found to contain pesticide residues at levels exceeding the legal limit. The CFS is following up on the cases.

     A CFS spokesman said, "The CFS collected the papaya sample from a supermarket in Kowloon City and the water spinach sample from a vegetable stall in Lok Fu Market for testing under its routine Food Surveillance Programme. The test results showed that the papaya sample contained thiamethoxam at a level of 0.02 parts per million (ppm), i.e. 2 times the maximum residue limit (0.01ppm), and the water spinach sample contained cyhalothrin at a level of 0.43 ppm, i.e. 2.15 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 usual consumption," he added.

     Generally speaking, to reduce pesticide residues in vegetables and fruits, members of the public can rinse vegetables and fruits 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 116 700 samples at import, wholesale and retail levels for testing for pesticide residues. Together with the unsatisfactory samples announced today, a total of 197 food samples (including 192 vegetable and fruit samples) 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 results, including tracing the sources and distribution of the food in question and taking samples for testing, so as to safeguard public health. Investigation is ongoing.   
Ends/Monday, August 28, 2017
Issued at HKT 19:25
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