Tue, Feb 06, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Holiday inspection finds vegetables with pesticide

RINSE, RUB, REPEAT:The health department urged people to thoroughly wash vegetables and soak them in water for 20 minutes before washing them again

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei Department of Health yesterday said that an inspection of food ingredients to be used during the Lunar New Year holiday found three vegetable items with excessive levels of pesticide residue.

The department carries out special inspections every year ahead of the holiday, when many families start buying ingredients to prepare dishes for the Lunar New Year’s Eve dinner.

A survey of 116 items, including black fungus, seafood, meat, baked pastries, nuts, raisins, candies and fresh fruit and vegetables, found three vegetable items with pesticide residue levels in excess of the legal maximum residue limits (MRL), the department said.

It found Asian basil containing 0.02 parts per million (ppm) of difenoconazole (MRL 0.01ppm) and 1.62ppm of diflubenzuron (MRL 1ppm), spinach containing 6.48ppm of tebufenozide (MRL 5ppm), and Chinese cabbage containing 1.11ppm of chlorfenapyr (MRL 1ppm).

Selling the tainted vegetables is in breach of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法) and can incur a fine of between NT$60,000 and NT$200 million (US$2,047 and US$6.82 million).

The department said it instructed the stores selling the vegetables to remove them from shelves.

It has also asked the health and agricultural departments of the counties where the vegetables were produced to supervise the farmers on the proper use of pesticides.

The department urged the public to wash vegetables under running water, rub their roots and stems, and soak them in water for about 10 to 20 minutes before washing them again for two to three minutes prior to cooking, adding that cooking them without the lid on might also help reduce pesticide residue.

Lunar New Year’s Day this year falls on Friday next week.

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