The Taipei City Department of Health has stepped up inspections of produce to ensure the safety of fruits and vegetables consumed by the public.
The agency on Monday announced the results of its testing of fruit and vegetables in May. It tested 90 produce samples for 374 types of pesticide residue and other chemicals. Ten of the 90 samples did not pass inspection.
Five of the samples that failed inspection were from Taipei’s Second Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market in Zhongshan District. In particular, kale and rapeseed had the highest levels of detected pesticide residue. The kale and rapeseed was traced back to farms in Erlun Township, Yunlin County.
Other produce that exceeded the limits on pesticide included papaya, passion fruit, wax apples, eggplant, red onion, and leek. The department of health will demand that the offending products be removed from the market. Those sourced from other counties will be referred to local health departments and the Council of Agriculture for further inspection. Vendors with subsequent violations of the pesticide limits will have their licenses revoked.
The department has the authority to fine responsible entities between NT$60,000 (US$1,900) and NT$200 million (US$6.3 million) for violating the pesticide limits. If the vendor cannot provide the source of the produce, it can be fined between NT$30,000 and NT$3 million.
The Taipei Department of Health reminds residents to wash produce thoroughly to reduce the pesticide residue.