About 60 per cent of inspected Chinese apples and pears have been found to contain pesticides. However, the amounts are within legal limits, said Nguyen Xuan Hong, director of the Plant Protection Department, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Chinese apples on sale at Long Bien Market in Ha Noi. Inspections are to be stepped up following fears that the apples are being wrapped in pesticide-coated paper. (Photo: VNS)
Of 40 samples taken, 39 tested negative for thiram, a dangerous, prohibited fungicide, while the remaining sample contained 0.08 parts per million (ppm) , which is below the safety threshold of 2 ppm.
Fifteen samples tested positive for arsenic, containing 0.02 - 0.11 ppm. Anything under 1 ppm is considered safe.
Tests were held on apples from major wholesale markets in Ha Noi and HCM City following reports that apple growers in China were wrapping their crops in toxic plastic bags.
Statistics reveal that 70 per cent of the apples on the Vietnamese market are from China.
Hong said his agency tested Chinese apples frequently. However, tests had repeatedly shown the fruit was up to Vietnamese safety standards.
He said relevant authorities had made working trips to China to check on the origin and growing of different types of fruit to ensure it met Viet Nam's safety standards.
Hong said all fruit legally imported to Viet Nam was strictly quarantined. However, there were illegal imports that were likely to be unsafe.
Therefore, he advised buyers to shop at stores subjected to regular inspections.
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