Toxic Pesticides Detected in Six Taiwan Supermarket Chains

Toxic Pesticides Detected in Six Taiwan Supermarket Chains
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Director of the Toxicology department at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Yan Zong-hai points out that if a variety of pesticides are mixed and the pesticides residues exceed the norm, the toxicity will increase under the cocktail party effect.

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Last year, six Taiwanese supermarket chains, including RT-Mart, Pxmart, Carrefour, Matsusei, Welcome and Far Eastern AMart, guaranteed that they would not sell fruits and vegetables with highly toxic pesticides banned by the Council of Agriculture (COA). Yet a sample testing report conducting by Greenpeace reveals that except for Pxmart, products from five supermarkets contain highly toxic pesticides and several products even exceed the normal amount of pesticides.

ETtoday reports, Greenpeace tested the convenience store, FamilyMart, and the six supermarket chains mentioned above from October 21 to 25. 45 out of 65 samples of fruits and vegetables contain pesticides with the proportion of pesticides residue reaching up to 69%.

Director of the Toxicology department at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Yan Zong-hai points out that if a variety of pesticides are mixed and the pesticides residues exceed the norm, the toxicity will increase under the cocktail party effect.

Deputy Director of the Northern Center of the Food and Drug Administration Wang De-yuan says, according to the Enforcement Rules of the Act Governing Food Sanitation, if the supermarkets cannot provide their sources of products and manage themselves autonomously, they could be fined up to NT$200 million (approximately US$ 6.11 million) for the pesticides residue. Deputy of Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine in the Council of Agriculture Feng Hai-dong points out that if farmers do not manage the medication cycle well, or if they harvest too early and the amount of remaining pesticides exceed the norm, they could be fined NT$ 15,000 to NT$ 150,000 (approximately US$ 459 to US$ 4,586).

Apple Daily reports, RT-Mart says they will pull products like bok choy from shelves. In recent years, RT-Mart has made lots of efforts, setting up ten laboratories for testing fruits and vegetables. They say they will find the problem and recruit staff to check the quality strictly. Carrefour has also removed the toxic fruits and vegetables from shelves and will continue to negotiate with farmers to gradually reduce the use of pesticides.

Far Eastern AMart says, they send their products to a third-party SGS inspection company once every three months. Their annual budget is up to NT$3 million (approximately US$ 91,710) and they will increase the budget and frequency of testing in the future. All relevant products have been pulled from the shelves for re-inspection.

China Times reports, Pxmart says the products on the list have passed the standard of the test and no excessive pesticides remained. Costco also says the detected pesticides were approved for use by the government and are not excessive. Costco sends their products to a third-party company for inspection each month and the products are all qualified.

FamilyMart says that the Taiwanese lettuce is hydroponically grown, without pesticides, so they are surprised when Greenpeace test results show 0.03ppm of Metalaxyl, a kind of pesticide, in it. In order to prevent concern of the customers, FamilyMart has removed Taiwanese lettuce from the shelves and suspended shipment until the problem is clarified.

Matsusei and Welcome have not yet responded regarding the inspection.

Translated by Wen-yee Lee
Edited by Olivia Yang

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