Illegal Chinese agrochemicals harmful to human health, ministry warns

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The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has issued a warning about illegal agrochemicals of Chinese origin, including feed additives and herbicides, that are harmful to human health and the environment.


At a meeting held Friday to discuss on enforcement of measures to ensure food safety and monitor agricultural chemicals, agriculture minister Cao Duc Phat said he was concerned by some local farmers' illegal use of β-agonists the growth-promoting agents used in meat producing livestock.


Hoang Kim Giao, director of the ministry's Husbandry Department, said it was difficult to enforce laws against illegal use of agriculture chemicals.


"In reality, we become aware of illegal chemical use by local farmers after it is detected in other countries first, prompting local inspections," he said.


Giao also said some veterinarians had deliberately sold the banned chemicals to farmers.


In China, the Henan Province court has handed down sentences to seven people ranging from one to 10 years for having sold the illegal pig feed additive clenbuterol to farmers since 2009, the Pig Progress magazine reported.


Clenbuterol is harmful to humans, promotes lean meat production and helps earn higher pig meat prices. The additive also allows meat to get to the market sooner.


At the Friday meeting, agriculture officials also warned against the wrongful and harmful use of ethephon a potent regulator of plant growth and maturity in preserving meat.


The chemical, which is sold in 5-milliliter bottles, was illegally imported from China, they said.


Ethephon is banned from use in preserving meat because it can poison humans.


Nguyen Nhu Tiep, director of the Agriculture Products Quality Management Department, said his office has instructed local agencies to enforce inspections on the illegal use of this chemical.


Deputy agriculture minister Luong Le Phuong warned against illegal import of banned herbicides and pesticides from China into neighboring localities in Vietnam.


"These chemicals cause environmental pollution and have harmful impacts on human health," he said.

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