Vietnam acts on toxic Chinese apples reports

TN News

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Vietnamese agricultural officials have asked authorities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to gather samples of Chinese apples for testing after reports emerged that the fruits had been grown in bags of pesticides.

Nguyen Xuan Hong, head of the Plant Protection Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said the tests were run to confirm reports alleging that Fuji apples grown in Shandong, China were ripened in small plastic bags filled with deadly chemicals.

On Tuesday, VietNamNet quoted him as saying that the initial test results would be available on July 22.

Hong said Chinese authorities discovered thiram (a fungicide) and arsenic in several apple bags, prompting his ministry to tighten control over apple imports at border crossings.

Ministry statistics hold that around 100,000 tons of Fuji apples are brought into Vietnam, every year, through a border crossing in Lang Son Province"”around 180 kilometers from Hanoi. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat has said they will await further test results before deciding whether or not to ban the fruits.

Meanwhile, several Japanese businesses have stopped importing the apples, according to a report published on the Ministry of Information and Communication's website.

Vietnam's health inspectors are keeping a close eye on imports of Chinese-made infant formula after Chinese authorities discovered elevated mercury levels in batches produced between November last year and May.

After testing 715 samples, the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine found that mercury levels in the formula were three to four times higher than allowed by national food standards.

The results were released this month prompting the Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co. Ltd., one of China's largest dairy producers, to recall their Quanyou baby formula.

On Tuesday, the ministry's Food Safety and Hygiene Department announced that it has not allowed Yili products into Vietnam since 2009.

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