China food safety

China to phase out more pesticides to improve food safety

Proposal to withdraw 12 highly toxic pesticides also comes as the government tries to tackle severe soil pollution

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 December, 2017, 12:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 December, 2017, 9:59pm

China plans to eliminate another 12 highly toxic pesticides from use within five years, state media reported late on Monday, as the government looks to improve the safety of its farm produce.

That comes amid an ongoing campaign to improve the environment and, in particular, tackle severe soil pollution.

Beijing has already withdrawn 22 highly toxic pesticides from use and it prohibits the use of any such products on fruit, vegetables and tea.

But it still had a number of highly toxic chemicals in use on other crops where they were particularly effective in fighting underground pests, Zeng Yande, head of the crop management department at the agriculture ministry, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

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The ministry has already issued a notice banning the highly toxic substances endosulfan and methyl bromide by 2019.

Three others – aldicarb, phorate and isocarbophos – would be withdrawn next year, while substances including omethoate and aluminium phosphide should be removed by 2020, the report said. Chloropicrin, carbofuran and methomyl will be phased out by 2022.

Zeng called for more research and development to produce highly effective alternatives with low toxicity.

The Ministry of Agriculture was already testing a subsidy system for low toxic biological pesticides, Economic Daily reported.

Zeng said local governments should support demonstration bases for such biological pesticides, according to that report.

Beijing announced two years ago a goal to achieve zero growth in the amount of pesticides used by 2020, and said it had already seen negative growth over the past three years.

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Zeng said also that the government should raise the barriers to pesticide registration and increase penalties for those making unlicensed products or selling counterfeit pesticides.

The agriculture ministry had proposed that new pesticide manufacturers must be located in chemical industry parks to reduce their environmental impact, Economic Daily reported.