Functional forces in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong have seized two metric tons of strawberries originating from China with an amount of pesticide residues three times higher than the allowable limit.
The strawberries were found on a truck on its way to Lam Dong’s capital city of Da Lat on July 24.
P.T.S., a 29-year-old man from Ho Chi Minh City, claimed to be the owner of the strawberries, saying he had bought them for VND50,000-60,000 (US$2.16-2.59) per kilogram from a connection on social media.
However, invoices and documents produced by S. showed the consignment’s owner is Nguyen Thi Nhung and the cargo was part of ten metric tons of strawberries imported to Vietnam through a border gate in the northern province of Lao Cai on July 2 at a dirt-cheap price of VND5,000 ($0.22) per kilogram.
According to the documents, the strawberries, packaged in 123 foam boxes, were transported by air from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi to Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City before being trucked to Lam Dong.
The documents also included required phytosanitary certificates.
|Police examine a foam box of strawberries heading to Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, July 24, 2020. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre|
The only strange thing was that the strawberries and their leaves were fresh as if they had just been picked despite the 22-day transportation.
The functional forces thus took them for pesticide residue analysis, the results of which showed that there were 0.063 milligrams of Abamectin, an active ingredient in pesticides, per kilogram of the strawberries, three times higher than the allowable limit in Vietnam.
Abamectin is jointly evaluated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be toxic with an acceptable daily intake of 0-0.002 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.
Since July 22, police in Lam Dong have seized more than ten metric tons of strawberries imported from China to Da Lat by road and by air.
Initial verification showed all these consignments had violated import procedures and the pesticide residue limit, according to the police.