A team of inspectors, including those from Ha Giang Market Management Department, destroyed hundreds of kilograms of bean sprouts this week.
Local residents Nguyen Thi Ly, Hoang Van Xanh and Do Thi Ngoan had each used 2ml bottles of SHS that costs VND1,500-2,000 (US8-10.6 cents) in the market to soak 11-12 kilograms of the beans. The beans would then sprout two days faster than normal. The green chemical that smells like pesticide also cause the bean sprouts to store water and thus weigh 1.7 times heavier.
The families have been selling the soaked bean sprouts for VND17,000 a kilo at local markets and VND24,000 to local restaurants, making profits of VND10,000-12,000 per kilo, the inspectors said.
The use of SHS is banned in Vietnam and the families had smuggled it in from abroad.
The chemical is also known as "leaf fertilizer" among Vietnamese farmers as they spray it on the leaves of plants and trees, and sometimes their trunks, to kill insects.
The Ministry of Health has banned the use of SHS, but many farmers still inject it into fruits to keep them fresh for longer periods.