Vietnam monitors China apple imports

Vietnam’s agriculture ministry’s plant protection department will closely monitor apple imports from China after hearing news about Chinese growers’ use of toxic substances to make apples eye-catching.

Nguyen Xuan Hong, director of the department, said at a meeting yesterday that there had been news reports that in some places in China, farmers use bags containing harmful substances to preserve green Fuji apples until they become ripe.

The department has worked with Chinese authorities over this issue, he added.

China has inspected and seized 2.7 million apple protection bags.

Two chemicals contained in such bags as stated by China are thiram, which is used to prevent fungal diseases in seed and crops, and melarsoprol, a harmful organic compound.

According to the department, samples of fruits imported into Vietnam will be examined, and Vietnam will inform importers if any residues of plant protection drugs are detected.

With Fuji apples, the department has instructed the plant protection offices at border gates to strengthen inspections over this fruit.

In addition, the department has asked the centers for plant protection drug testing in Hanoi and HCMC to test apple samples in these cities to see whether these apples are from China or not.

“The department will report to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development about this issue by Friday,” said Hong.

The department is only able to identify the amount of residues of harmful substances on apples while the Ministry of Health can know toxicity levels.

In China, Fuji apples account for up to 80% of its annual apple production volume of 32 million tons, and 7.1 million tons is exported.

China now has 650 apple farming companies.

Currently, the amount of Chinese apples in Vietnam is not much as the apple season in China has yet to come until in September.

Therefore, Chinese apples will be imported into Vietnam with a large volume from October until March.

Source: The Saigon Times

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