Volunteers from Greenpeace petition Tesco’s China headquarters to ensure its suppliers stop using harmful pesticides. // Picture from Greenpeace China.
Let’s do a quick recap of all the major food safety news so far this year: We’ve got cadmium in our rice, steamed buns that are actually recycled, “beef” that’s actually pork, epilepsy-causing eels, cancer-causing fruit juice, cholera-inducing frogs, worm eggs in our mineral water, and exploding watermelons. If all that’s still not enough to make you want to stop eating and drinking for the rest of your time in China, here’s more.
Greenpeace China has conducted its own pesticide test on 50 vegetable and fruit samples and 12 rice samples collected from Tesco, Lotus and Lianhua outlets in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Hangzhou.
The results aren’t pretty but let’s cut to the chase anyway, shall we?
- 16 vegetable and fruit samples were taken from Tescos in Beijing and Guangzhou. Among them, 11 were found containing pesticide residues. Six samples contained pesticides that the EU classifiers suspect to be hormone disruptors. Six samples contained pesticides that EU classifies as possibly harmful to unborn babies.
- A spinach sample contained pesticide procymidone level 2.99 mg/kg, which exceeds the EU MRL of 0.02 mg/kg by 149 times. The pesticide itself is no longer allowed to be used in EU as it has been classified as a suspected hormone disruptor.
- One leafy vegetable sample turned up two kinds of pesticides, methamidophos and monocrotophos, the use of which have been prohibited in China since the beginning of year 2007.
- Out of four rice samples taken, one contained 0.02 mg/kg of isoprothiolane pesticide residue, which is above the EU MRL standard. In the EU this product would not be allowed to be sold.
- We sampled 12 fruit and vegetable samples from stores in Shanghai and Wuhan. Nine samples contained pesticide residues. Seven samples contained pesticides that the EU classifiers suspect to be hormone disruptors. Five contained pesticide residues that EU classifiers suspect may harm unborn babies.
- A Chinese leek sample and an eggplant sample contained the pesticide methamidophos, the use of which has been banned since 2007. The pesticide was also found on a rice sample at low levels.
Lianhua, with affiliate stores Hualian and Century Mart
- We sampled 22 fruit and vegetable samples from supermarkets in Shanghai, Wuhan and Hangzhou. 15 samples were found to contain pesticide residues. 11 samples contained pesticides that the EU classifiers suspect to be hormone disruptors. Eight contained pesticides the EU classifiers suspect may harm unborn babies.
- A Chinese leek sample contained pesticide residue procymidone levels of 1.05 mg/kg. This exceeds the Chinese MRL standard of 0.02 mg/kg. The pesticide residue carbendazim levels of 3.21 mg/kg also exceed the Chinese MRL standard of 2mg/kg. These two pesticides are both categorized by the EU as hormone disruptors. Procymidone is not allowed to be used in the EU.
- A leafy vegetable contained the pesticide methamidophos, the use of which has been banned since year 2007.
Gee, thanks for letting us know. Greenpeace! What does one do now?