Clarifying meaning of accreditation
YOUR article on August 8 about the Accredited Farms Scheme quotes Mr C. C. Chan of the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) as saying, ''Produce will be given a quality mark if it is pesticide-free.'' However, in meetings with Friends of the Earth, Mr Chan and other AFD officials have emphasised that the accreditation mark does not mean that vegetables are pesticide-free.
Accreditation means only that the farm uses pesticides registered for use in Hong Kong, and uses them according to the manufacturers' recommendations.
We drew the AFD's attention to an South China Morning Post article of January 15, which also stated that accredited vegetables would be pesticide-free, and pointed out that the public might be misled by the labelling.
They agreed that thorough and accurate public education was essential to the success of the scheme.
Only organic produce can truly be described as pesticide-free.
Whilst the proposed accreditation scheme will be useful in promoting better agricultural practice, the continued misrepresentation of accredited vegetables as being pesticide-free is misleading the public.
LISA HOPKINSON Spokesperson, Friends of the Earth