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16% of farm products have excessive insecticide

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Around 16 percent of agricultural products for sale in domestic retail markets conntin excessive insecticide residuals, according to findings of an island-wide examination program released yesterday by the Cabinet-level Department of Health (DOH).

In its second round of examination for the month of January, the DOH examined 118 agricultural products offered by supermarkets, traditional retail markets and packaging plants, finding that 19 of them contained too much insecticide residuals, translating into a ratio of 16.1 percent.

Cheng Shou-hsin, deputy director of the southern Taiwan branch of the Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis under the DOH, said of the 19 substandard agricultural products, one was date preserves from Taipei County, northern Taiwan, which contained 25.52ppm of Ammonium thiocyanate, 10 times the safety amount of 2.5ppm.

Cheng continued that garden peas sourced from Tainan City were found to contain Fipronil, a relatively new insecticide not allowed in agricultural products.

In addition, a green vegetable dubbed chrysanthemum coronarium from Taitung was found to contain Acetamiprid, also a new insecticide, and the same vegetable from Taichung County, central Taiwan, was found to have Dimethomorph, a systematic morpholine fungicide.

Cheng said the DOH has asked relevant local health units to find out the supply sources of those substandard agricultural products and impose fines on suppliers in accordance with relevant food and health regulations.

He called for consumers to purchase those agricultural products bearing the CAS (Chinese Agricultural Standards) logo, so that they won't buy substandard farm products.

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