Illegal levels of pesticide found in vegetables sold in Nantou

Image taken from Pixabay via CNA, 2018.3.30

Taipei, March 29 (CNA) A number of vegetables sold in Nantou County markets were found to contain trace pesticides that exceeded the legal limit following sample testing of items taken from locations across the county, according to the local Health Bureau Thursday.

According to a press release issued by the Health Bureau, samples were tested for preservatives, formaldehyde, aflatoxins, veterinary drugs and pesticide residue.

Of 53 items tested, four were found to be problematic but it was later determined that the batches from which they came were sold out before the results came out, the press release noted.

The test results found that one sample each of brown mustard, snap peas, Chinese kale and peas contained residual pesticide content that exceeded the allowable standard.

According to data from the test sampling results, the brown mustard had twice the legal limit of the pesticide cypermethrin as well as traces of the fungicide fluxapyroxad which is banned. The snap peas contained 54 times the legal limit of the pesticide clofentezine, as well as traces of the fungicide proquinazid which is not permitted.

The Chinese kale was found to have 1.5 times the legal limit of the insecticide tolfenpyrad, while the peas were found to contain the pesticide carbofuran and 3-hydroxycarbofuran, the report noted.

To ensure food safety in the run up to Tomb Sweeping Festival, the Health Bureau visited traditional markets, supermarkets, bakeries and retailers in local townships and communities where it took samples of 53 different food items, including popiah skins, cakes, peanut products, meat products and vegetables.

As popiah skins are an important food during the Tomb Sweeping Festival, the Health Bureau reminded the public to not buy from unknown sources and to store them at a suitable temperature.

The bureau also called on farmers to comply with relevant laws and regulations relating to the use of pesticides and for the public to remove leaves and roots when washing vegetables. After washing, soak them in water for 10-20 minutes, then rinse a further two to three times with tap water to further reduce possible pesticide residue, the Health Bureau added.

After an investigation, one item was found to have come from a supplier outside the county who has since been reported to the relevant health authority, while the supplier of another item is from Nantou and will be prosecuted locally, the press release said, adding that the investigation into the other two items is ongoing.

(By Hsiao Po-wen and William Yen)