About 56 percent of fresh vegetables and fruits on sale in fresh markets, super markets and modern trade stores, including the so-called high-end gourmet markets are laced with chemical residues beyond acceptable standards, according to survey conducted by Thai-PAN, a pesticide alert network.
Thai-PAN coordinator Ms Prokchon Usap told the media on Thursday that the network collected 10 types of vegetables and six kinds of fruits which are popular among the consumers for tests to find out pesticide residues during August 23-29.
The ten types of vegetables include red chilli, kale, morning glory, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, pea eggplant, tomato and basil. The six kinds of fruits are Sainampoeng orange, papaya, water melon, cantaloupe, guava and dragon fruit.
Altogether 158 samples of the six fruits and 10 vegetables were collected from three modern trade chain stores namely Big C, Macro and Tesco Lotus, three wholesale markets namely Talad Thai, Pathom Mongkol market in Nakhon Pathom and Srimuang market in Ratchaburi and several super markets where the fruits and vegetables are tagged with safety or organic labels such as Tops, Home Fresh Mart, Max Value, Villa Market, Lemon Farm, Golden Place and Foodland.
All the 158 samples were subjected to multi residue pesticide screen (MRPS) and it was disclosed that 56 percent of the 158 samples were tested positive with beyond-standard level of pesticide residues.
Ms Prokchon said 70.2 percent of the samples taken from modern trade stores were found to contain high level of pesticide residues: 12 out of 16 samples from Tesco Lotus; 11 out of 16 samples from Macro and 10 out of 15 samples from Big C.
54.2 percent of samples taken from wholesale markets were found to contain pesticide residues beyond limits.
Vegetables found to have the highest amount of pesticide residues beyond MRL are kale with 10 out of 11 samples, red chilli, nine out of 12 samples; basil and long beans, 8 out of 12 samples; morning glory, 7 out of 12 samples, pea eggplant, 6 out of 11 samples.
Sainampoeng orange was found to contain the highest amount of pesticide residues of all the six kinds of fruits tested. Even fruits and vegetables certified by the Agriculture Ministry as safe are laced with pesticide residues, said Ms Prokchon.
She disclosed that even some chemicals which were globally phased out were found in fruits and vegetables such as dicrotophos, endosulfan, methamidophos, carbofuran and methomyl.