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November 19, 2009

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Beijing's fruit supplies get clean bill of health

THE Ministry of Health said yesterday that fruit sold in Beijing supermarkets had been tested and met national standards, in response to a Greenpeace report in July on pesticide residue on fruit sold in the capital.

The Greenpeace report on fruit and vegetable safety, published on its Website, said 17 pesticides had been detected in melons, apples, peaches, nectarines and cherries bought in four supermarket chains, namely Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Lotus and Vanguard, in Beijing.

However, a notice issued yesterday by the ministry on its Website said all 17 pesticides found were permitted and the amounts of residues were within national limits.

It said the tests were conducted by the health and agriculture ministries, the State General Administration for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine, and Beijing's municipal government.

No banned nor highly toxic pesticides were detected in tested fruit, according to the notice.

The notice also said the report provided by the Greenpeace-authorized inspection body was non-standard because it lacked criteria on testing samples.

All fruit involved in the Greenpeace report had "no safety issues," it said.

Luo Yuannan, food and agriculture campaigner in the Greenpeace Beijing Office, said in a phone call that pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables could be a long-term threat to human health.

Luo admitted the amounts of pesticide residues they found in fruit samples did not exceed national standards.


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