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Pesticides found in market veg

By Yang Jie (Global Times)

09:00, January 11, 2012

The majority of vegetables sampled from five supermarkets in China contained residues of at least one hazardous pesticide, according to a Greenpeace report released Tuesday.

The five supermarkets are Jingkelong in Beijing, Chinese Resources Vanguard, Park'nShop and Jusco in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province and Ito Yokado in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.

The pesticides in question are either banned or the trace amounts on the produce exceeded legal limits.

According to an independent third-party laboratory, 30 out of 35 samples of fruits and vegetables contained three extremely hazardous chemicals, phorate, carbofuran and endolsufan.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, small amounts of phorate can cause nausea, confusion and dizziness, and at very high exposure levels, respiratory paralysis and death.

Research shows that endolsufan may be harmful to the reproductive system of men. It was placed on the list of prohibited chemicals by China in June 2011.

Phorate was found in Chinese chives in the Tianshuiyuan store of Jingkelong Supermarket in Beijing while arbofuran was discovered on Chinese cabbages in the Tianhebei store of CR Vanguard in Guangzhou.

The researchers also found excessive traces of endolsufan in two Jingkelong Supermarket outlets and one Jusco Supermarket branch.

A Jingkelong employee told the Global Times that she did not know the vegetables contained pesticides and was unclear as to their source.

Another employee surnamed Chen, in charge of quality control for CR Vanguard, refused to provide any details about the quality testing process for their vegetables.

"All of our vegetables cleared the agricultural testing center of Guangdong Province," another employee from CR Vanguard told the Global Times. "Our own quality testing department also tests the vegetables every morning."

Wang Jing, director of food and agriculture programs for Greenpeace, believes the test results reveal flaws in pesticide control and regulations for these supermarkets.

"As the main channel of food supplies, supermarkets should be responsible. They should help suppliers and producers reduce pesticide use, and guarantee public health," Wang told the Global Times.

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