Tesco produce in China unsafe for three years now

Press release - 2011-11-14
Beijing – After three years of independent testing, produce sold at Tesco supermarkets in China continues to show levels of pesticides far above the legal limit, according to new results released by Greenpeace.

This latest round of tests came in response to claims by Tesco in September refuting Greenpeace's previous findings. It is the fourth test run by Greenpeace since early 2009.

"Time and time again we've found illegal levels of pesticides in Tesco produce," said Greenpeace agriculture campaigner Wang Jing. "Ordinary Chinese people eat this food. It’s unhealthy particularly for children. When is Tesco going to change its standards for Chinese produce?"

Greenpeace filed a public interest law suit against the supermarket giant in early September because of its continuing violations of Chinese food regulations. Greenpeace is calling on Tesco to take responsibility and ensure its produce doesn't harm people and the environment. Tesco should at the least raise its produce standards in China to the quality used at other Tesco stores around the world.

"These results raise the question of double standards for food sold in Tesco stores in China compared to food sold in their stores outside of China," Wang said. "We're talking about food safety, and more importantly, we're talking about people's health. Chinese customers should receive the same quality and safety of produce that European customers do."

To date, Greenpeace has tested 21 fruits and vegetables at different Tesco stores throughout China. In early October, Greenpeace campaigners sampled five vegetables randomly from a Tesco store in Tianjin. Results from an independent laboratory found from the samples residue of at least three types of chemicals – carbendazim, dimethomorph and chlorpyrifos – existing on spinach and leeks. The leeks had levels of chlorpyrifos residue that were two times higher than China's regulations allow.

Greenpeace calls on Tesco to immediately ban the use of most hazardous pesticides from its produce, as urged by both the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Greenpeace is also asking Tesco to control its supply chain and ensure that it is not selling any food with highly hazardous pesticides or that has been genetically modified.

Media Contacts:

Evan Brooks, International Media Officer
+86 139 1151 5405

Wang Jing, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner

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