Toxicity of imported Chinese apples within safe levels: official

TN News

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Vietnam's agricultural authorities said Friday it has not found Fuji apples imported from China to be unsafe.

Nguyen Xuan Hong, director of the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said its agencies have conducted tests on apples from major wholesales markets, mostly in Hanoi and HCMC.

Of the 40 samples taken, 39 tested negative for thiram (a dangerous, prohibited fungicide) while the remaining sample contained just 0.08 ppm (part per million), which is below the safety threshold of 2 ppm.

Meanwhile, 15 samples tested positive for arsenic at between 0.02-0.11 ppm, while anything under 1 ppm is considered safe.

The tests were conducted following reports that a large number of apple growers in China have been wrapping their crops in unmarked plastic bags containing a mysterious white "medicinal" powder.

Farmers and other individuals from agricultural cooperatives had admitted to reporters that "everyone knows" that Chinese exporters are packing apples in thiram and melarsoprol (a toxic organic compound of arsenic), according to Chinese media reports.

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An earlier test by the Plant Protection Department found around 30 percent of apple samples contained pesticides but within permissible levels.

Hong said his agency test Chinese apples frequently due to their lengthy growing period, making the fruit more likely to be subjected to pesticides and fungicides.

Tests have repeatedly deemed the fruit safe according to Vietnamese food safety standards, he said.

"People should wash them carefully and peel before eating," Hong said.

Vietnam imports around 120,000 tons of Chinese apples every year.

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