TAIPEI — The Council of Agriculture (COA) was censured yesterday by the government watchdog Control Yuan for failing to report in time on pesticide residues found in fruits and vegetables.
As a result, pesticide-tainted fruit and vegetables were able to reach the consumer market, the Control Yuan said.
Under COA regulations, it sends people into the field to collect samples of fruit and vegetable crops before they are harvested and has the samples tested for pesticide residues, Control Yuan member Cheng Jen-hung said.
If pesticide residues are found, the COA will either offer growers advice on how to control the problem or will penalize them, depending on the level of contamination, Cheng said. In cases where pesticide residues exceed the allowable safety level, the COA will prohibit harvesting of the crop, he added.
However, in mid-2011 and in January this year more than 80 percent of fruit and vegetables in the country were harvested before the results of the pesticide tests were known, Cheng said.
As a result, the tainted produce managed to reach the domestic market, he added.
“The COA’s pesticide monitoring mechanism failed to function in a timely manner,” Cheng said.