Organophosphate contamination of leafy greens grown in China

Photo Credit: Sue Salisbury Photo Credit: Sue Salisbury

A new study published in the scientific journal Food Control has found that over 23% of vegetables sampled from Changchun, Northeast China, exceed the maximum allowable residue limit for organophosphate (OP) pesticides. Researchers sampled 214 vegetable samples from one of China’s top vegetable-growing regions and tested them for OP pesticide residues. Only 7.9% of the sampled vegetables were free of OP pesticide contamination, and the pesticide diazinon was found on 82% of the vegetables sampled. Almost half of all vegetables sampled tested positive for two or more OP pesticides. In general, contamination levels were higher for leafy green vegetables than non-leafy greens such as eggplants and tomatoes. “The results provided important information on the current contamination status of a key agricultural area in China, and pointed to the need for urgent action to control the use of some prohibited pesticides, such as methamidophos,” the authors concluded.