Food tests ordered as family suffers pesticide poisoning

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 November, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 November, 1997, 12:00am

Health chiefs raised the alarm yesterday after a family of three suffered pesticide poisoning from vegetables, the first such case this year.

Food inspectors have ordered tests on all consignments of Chinese chrysanthemums and French beans from the mainland for an indefinite period to prevent further poisoning.

A 13-year-old girl was taken to hospital on Wednesday night and her parents were also affected after buying two types of vegetables coated with pesticide from a licensed seller in Graham Street, Central. The girl was later released.

The Health Department traced the consignment to a wholesaler in Western Market but declined to disclose the name.

It was last night trying to confirm the origin of the vegetables.

The department warned the public to be careful about mainland vegetables as farmers there used more pesticides in order to speed up harvests.

Assistant director Dr Gloria Tam Lai-fun said random checks and sampling at the Man Kam To food control office and at retail stores would be stepped up.

But the Shenzhen Import-Export Commodities Inspection Bureau denied mainland vegetables posed any threat.

A spokesman said close co-operation on both sides of the border had been effective in rooting out vegetables coated with dangerous pesticides. About 60 per cent of vegetables come from the mainland, with 12 per cent grown locally and the rest from overseas. There were three cases of pesticide poisoning last year.