A wholesale market in Ho Chi Minh City has banned traders from selling Chinese ginger after tests found a highly poisonous chemical in the products.
Nguyen Dang Phu, deputy director of Binh Dien Market in District 8 said Sunday market authorities have also ordered traders to destroy any Chinese ginger they have.
The ban came after the Plant Protection Department found high levels of aldicarb, a highly poisonous carbamate pesticide, in a ginger sample taken from the market.
The department took 50 samples from 10 large markets in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City following a report on the South China Morning Post May 7 saying farmers in China's Shandong Province have for long been overusing an illegal and highly toxic pesticide to grow ginger, adding to the country's growing list of food scandals.
An investigative report by China Central Television, broadcast May 4, also said farmers in Weifang city have been using "three to six times" the recommended level of aldicarb, a pesticide not approved for use on ginger plants.
Aldicarb, branded in China as Shennongdan, is a toxic pesticide that the Ministry of Agriculture says can be only used on cotton, tobacco, peanuts, roses, and sweet potato, and with strict oversight.
Exposure to high quantities can lead to dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, and respiratory failure.
Just 50 milligrams of aldicarb is reportedly enough to kill a person weighing 50kg.
Nguyen Xuan Hong, chief of the Plant Protection Department, said ginger products imported from China into Vietnam face no taxes.
This year over 730 tons of Chinese ginger have been imported.
He said people should carefully wash ginger and peel off the skin before use to avoid risk.
Chinese ginger is bigger and better-looking than Vietnamese ginger, and remains fresh for a whole year after harvest, while Vietnamese ginger rots after a few months.
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