Greenpeace found excessive levels of DDT and other chemicals in produce sold at supermarkets Greenpeace has urged the government and the two main supermarket chains to step up safety and testing after finding banned pesticides and excessive levels of other chemicals in vegetables for sale in their stores. The chemicals were found in samples bought from five ParknShop branches and two Wellcome branches in Tin Shui Wai between November and March. They included the banned pesticides DDT, lindane, delta-HCH and methamidophos. Excessive levels of cypermethrin and chlorpyrifos - the two most commonly used farm pesticides - were also found. 'This is unacceptable,' the environmental group's food safety assistant campaigner, Chow Yuen-ping, said. 'We're under pesticide threat every day from these vegetables with unsafe content. It can constitute serious health threats like acute poisoning or chronic intoxication if we keep consuming them.' Wellcome said it had already traced the contaminated crops and stopped using the suppliers. It promised to raise its standards. ParknShop has told Greenpeace it will look at stepping up its monitoring system, but condemned as 'irresponsible' the 'piecemeal' release of the report, which it said was part of a study that also included wet markets. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said it would follow up the matter with mainland counterparts. Greenpeace, which collected the samples on four visits, said it had made two random checks initially, but went back on two further occasions when the first tests showed Tin Shui Wai seemed to be a particular problem. Thirteen types of commonly consumed vegetables, including choi sum, pak choi, green sprouts, kale, French beans and tomatoes, were tested. Twenty different pesticides were found in the samples, a majority of which contained multiple pesticides. Banned pesticides were found in five tomato and French bean samples. Seventeen samples, or 30 per cent of the total, contained excessive residues of cypermethrin and chlorpyrifos, ranging from 1.2 to 12 times above the World Health Organisation standard, which Hong Kong follows, and up to 240 times the tougher European Union standard. The most residues were found in green vegetables in the two supermarket chains' shops in the Chung Fu Shopping Centre at Tin Shui Wai. One tomato from its ParknShop branch contained five different pesticides. The chains told Greenpeace more than 80 per cent of their vegetables were imported from registered mainland farms, where excessive amounts of pesticides are commonplace, Ms Chow said. The group's investigation showed safety and quality control systems for green crops at the two chains were limited and contained many 'loopholes', she said. ParknShop had its own laboratory that conducts daily pesticide tests, but they were limited to leafy greens, she said. Wellcome had no complete monitoring system and pesticide tests rested largely on its suppliers, apart from weekly in-house tests. 'These are far from adequate to guarantee the safety of vegetables we consume every day,' Ms Chow said. Lawmaker Fred Li Wah-ming, chairman of the Legislative Council's food safety and environmental hygiene panel, said he was shocked and disappointed by the findings and Legco would follow up on the issue. He urged the government to step up its cross-border sample checks on imported vegetables and investigate whether there was negligence among departments that allowed the contamination to occur. He also urged the supermarkets to conduct daily pesticide tests to ensure food safety. ParknShop said pesticide residues in its samples might be due to environmental contamination from nearby river water or wind from adjacent farms. Greenpeace confirmed it was also conducting checks on wet markets but they were not yet complete.