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Posts Tagged ‘Toxic’

Fear of toxic additives in food

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:04 am

Medical experts believe one of the causes of cancer in the world is the rampant use of harmful chemicals and additives in food.


As Tet (lunar New Year) holiday approaches, wholesale markets such as Binh Tay, Ben Thanh, An Dong and Kim Bien begin selling jams and dry fruits without labels, giving no indication of their origin and manufacturing base.

Chinese dry fruits packed in nylon bags selling in Binh Tay market (Photo: SGGP)

Shop assistants claim these dry fruits and jams are imported from China but it is not clear whether these foods have been certified by health authorities. These dry fruits could contain toxic substances and are being sold to innocent customers who favor their taste.


Last year the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health (DOH) did a random test of six dry fruit samples from three vendors at the Binh Tay wholesale market in District 6.


The authorities found five samples to contain lead and a banned artificial sweetener, Cyclamate. Tests also showed that melon seeds and chilli powder contained Rhodamine B, a harmful dye suspected of being carcinogenic.


Medics believe that eating food contaminated with lead over a long period of time can cause damage to the nervous system, impair brain function, cause kidney failure and in extreme cases even lead to death.


However, these products continue to sell in markets heedless of their harmful affects on health. Customers are lured by their eye catching and colorful appearance and packaging.


The city DOH has ordered the district 5 People’s Committee to monitor Kim Bien market and identify shops that sell toxic foods, but there has been little success in that area. Besides, chefs preparing food items are not aware of the harmful affects of such chemicals and therefore use them in excess.


Medical experts stress that it is now very important to control the inflow of smuggled chemicals and also prevent banned additives from being imported into the country.


Related article:
Dangerous chemicals have been used in food for years

Source: SGGP

Toxic pesticides used by vegetable farmers

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:04 am

Verdant veggies  farms in an outskirt district in Hanoi. However, many containers of pesticides found discarded in fields, canals, ditches and ponds in the vicinities of farms.( Photo: SGGP)

Bitter cold weather in northern parts of the country has badly affected agricultural produce, leading to a shortage of supply of fresh vegetables as demand increases for the oncoming Tet holiday season (Lunar New Year). 


This has led some farmers to take advantage of the situation and toxic stimulants and pesticides are being added to increase farm produce, regardless of their affect on the health of people.


Mindless of the weather, many farmers in the outskirts of Hanoi in areas like Tay Tuu, La Ca, La Tinh, Thinh Liet, and Van Canh seemed to use excessive pesticides.


Many containers of pesticides with Vietnamese and Chinese labels were found discarded in fields, canals, ditches and ponds in the vicinities of farms.


Ms. Hanh in Tu Liem district said that farmers used artificial growth stimulants made in China for insect control, as insects devastated crops and along with this they used nitrate fertilizer to grow longer leaves in veggies as well as speed up quick growth. This resulted in veggies growing within a short time and giving an artificial and lush appearance.


Hanh revealed that her colleagues used excessive pesticide to grow swamp morning-glory, which was once an exclusive summer seasonal vegetable but now farmers grew it round the year.


Normally it takes 15-20 days to harvest swamp morning-glory but farmers now harvest the veggie in just a few days by spraying fertilizers and stimulants every two or three days. 

A kind of artificial growth stimulant farmers usually spray in their vegetable fields (photo: SGGP)

Farmers used these artificial growth stimulants from China instead of the permitted ones allowed on the list issued by agriculture authorities because they were so much cheaper. Farmers can net more profit by growing swamp morning-glory than paddy (rice).


Ms. Hoat, a farmer in La Ca village which is famous for growing this special vegetable believes farmers began planting swamp morning-glory instead of  rice five years ago because they could earn more money.


She also revealed a separate piece of land where she grew veggies for her family on which she did not spray pesticide or growth stimulants.


The government certainly needs to step up action to stop such rampant use of pesticides and growth stimulants. People face a health risk and even though farmers understand the consequences of excess use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in vegetable they continue to be lured by enormous profits.

Source: SGGP

Relevant authorities found indifferent to toxic stimulants used on vegetables

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:03 am

Authorized organizations have showed a lack of investigation into some farmers that use pesticides and other stimulants to increase the amount and size of their farm produce.

This is the kind of artificial growth stimuli that farmers have used in spraying their vegetable crops (photo: SGGP)

Bui Si Doanh, head of the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that all stimulants contain a toxic Giberellic acid, which might be poisonous for humans.


When the stimulants have penetrated deep into the plant cells, washing the vegetables, will not remove the stimulant, he said.


A recent research has revealed that the childless rate in Vietnam is 8 percent of the country’s population. One possibly reason for this, is the application of toxic chemicals, used in food production.


According to the department, there are two types of stimulants used in vegetables and fruits. One stimulant is within an acceptable level, permitted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.


The other is an illegal import from China. This stimulant is brought through Tan Thanh border gate, in the northern province of Lang Son.


The contraband stimulants are packed with Chinese labels that Vietnamese farmers cannot read. The information the farmers are receiving is that this stimulants, help grow their vegetables much faster.


Each time the public raises concerns about the stimulants contained in the vegetables, the Plant Protection Department and the Ministry of Health, just collect test samples and instruct farmers not to use the chemicals.  They have not sent investigators to directly examine the sales and usage of toxic stimulants.


Mr. Bui Si Doanh said that the Plant Protection Department has been asked to investigate this issue. However, the department said that the investigation has been delayed; as new laws that regulated departments are being put into practice.


Related article:
Toxic pesticides used by vegetable farmers

Source: SGGP

Vietnam tests ‘Chinese satay’ after revelation of toxic cancer-causing substance

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:37 am

Following revelations made by the Chinese media, who stated that their satay might contain a toxic cancer-causing substance, Vietnamese authorities on December 21 took samples from some markets in the North for testing.

After the Chinese media revealed that satay might contain a toxic cancer-causing substance, Vietnamese authorities immediately collect the Chinese satay bags from local markets

The Vietnam Food Administration and the Ministry of Health investigated markets in Hanoi and the northern provinces in order to collect food samples of the Chinese satay (or pot-au-feu spices).


The revelation has caused fear in Vietnam as many people have used these spices for years.


In Dong Xuan market, the biggest wholesale market in Hanoi, Chinese products are displayed besides locally-made satay and other spices. China’s satay is sold at VND10, 000 a pack.

In addition, Chinese products have no expiry date on their packaging and no Vietnamese language labeling.


Nguyen Thanh Phong, deputy head of the administration, said Chinese companies have not announced the quality of these products in Vietnam. Furthermore, the display of these products in this country violates Vietnam’s food hygiene and safety regulations.


Phong warned Vietnamese customers to be careful in selecting and buying products that have no clear indications of its origin.

Source: SGGP

Health Ministry orders seizure, destruction of toxic candy

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2010 at 9:18 am

The Health Ministry’s Food Hygiene and Safety Department March 26 ordered its units nationwide to quickly seize and destroy a new type of lollipop being sold in Vietnam without origin and containing toxic substances.

A fluorescent lollipop containing Polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) in the stick, which makes it glow. The substance is highly toxic and can cause cancer and gene mutation. (Photo: SGGP)

The packaging of the “Fluorescent lollipop” candy contains neither the name nor address of the manufacturer, and does not list an expiry date.


The edible portion of the lollipop is attached to a stick that glows, heightening its appeal to children.


Test results have showed that the sticks contain Phtalate and Polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), where the former acts as a solvent for the latter, said Dr. Le Thi Hong Hao, deputy head of the National Institute for Testing Food Hygiene and Safety under the Health Ministry.


The combination of the two chemicals leads to an oxygenated reaction, creating fluorescent illumination in the stick, said Ms. Hao.


PAH is an extremely toxic chemical, usually used only for industrial purposes like diluting paint. It can cause cancer or gene mutation in humans, Ms. Hao added.


“Although the toxic substance is confined to the stick, children can put the stick in their mouths and the poison can leak out and enter their bodies,” head of the Department of Food Hygiene and Safety, Nguyen Cong Khan, warned.


The candy has been being sold in front of schools in many provinces and cities across the country, including Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, the department said.

Some traders said the candy, selling for VND2,000 per lollipop, entered the country via the northern border.


In Da Nang, head of the city Sub-department of Food Hygiene and Safety, Nguyen Minh Tien, said yesterday he ordered his force to make inspections across the city, especially around schools, and seize any if discovered. 


The same day, the HCMC Health Department sent official letters to all relevant agencies to inform them of the seizure and destruction of the candy.


The HCMC Steering Board for Food Hygiene and Safety also asked the Department of Industry and Trade, the Market Department Sub-department, and district People’s Committees to seize and destroy any of the candy found.


The Health Department said it would submit a report on the investigation to the Health Ministry by April 1, after combining all reports from other relevant agencies.


Meanwhile, the HCMC Department of Education and Training has told schools to instruct students and their parents not to buy or eat the lollipops.

Source: SGGP

Toxic spices raise alarm again the found out

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 6:15 am

Public concerns about food safety in HCMC have returned following the discovery that additives used for cooking curry and stewed beef dishes were contaminated with industrial dye Rhodamine B.








Rampant contaminated spices  sold in markets , especially in wholesale markets Kim Bien and Binh Tay (Photo: SGGP)

Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health inspectors announced four food manufacturers had breached food safety regulations for selling products containing cancer-causing chemical Rhodamine B, used as a dye and as a dye laser gain medium. The workshops include Kim Nga and Kim Thanh companies.


Huynh Le Thai Hoa, head of Food Safety and Hygiene Bureau spoke with SGGP saying that many bogus additive manufactures distribute their products markets themselves without official permission.


Flavoring with unclear origin was being sold openly at local markets without control. At Kim Bien wholesale market in HCM City, a Sai Gon Giai Phong reporter impersonating a sidewalk eatery vendor was guided to gate No. 5 where many stores were selling food flavorings.


A saleswoman at a store C.P introduced different kinds of flavorings including coffee, butter, cocoa, milk, chicken, onion, beef and fruit flavors, which were sold in big plastic cans and small jars, saying to use only a spoonful to achieve the desired taste. She showed a plastic 250 ml can, which had a label identifying that it was made in Singapore but showed no brand name, expiration date or name of importer.


In front of the store C.P, a man was manually filling small bags from a large plastic sack. He said it was a pigment for furniture polish that was also used to add to rice vermicelli and sour crab soup as it was three times cheaper than the legal food color.


Meanwhile, shops in Binh Tay market in district 6 greeted customers to buy food flavorings and spices. Shop 181 C.T. introduced several flavorings including one from Kim Nga workshop to cook soup. The powder, which smelled mouldy, was labeled with contents of star anise, false cardamom, cinnamon bark, coriander seeds, whole cloves, dried tangerine peel and fennel seeds.


Health officials said the Food Safety and Hygiene Bureau would trace manufacturers of unregulated food additives, to dish out harsh punishments and confiscate offending products.





Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

HCMC company can’t treat toxic waste until May

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 5:35 am

The Ho Chi Minh City Urban Environment Company cannot receive toxic waste from the city for treatment until May at the soonest, company Director Huynh Minh Nhut said March 4.








The HCMC Urban Environment Company (Citenco) said March 4 it will not be able to receive hazardous waste for treatment until May, due to impediments in importing facility equipment

The import of some equipment and technology for the waste treatment plant in Dong Thanh Commune, Hoc Mon District, HCMC, has been held up and thus, the facility will not be completed for several more weeks, he said.


Once operational, the plant is set to have a treatment capacity of 21 tons of toxic waste per day. It was expected to come online late December last year, Mr. Nhut added.


This is the first and the most advanced plant for hazardous waste treatment in the city. It will be able to treat large volumes of waste, especially dangerous garbage that other facilities are unable to handle, he said.


HCMC discharges around 600 tons of toxic waste per day, he said. As the company could not put the plant into operation sooner, several privately owned waste companies have increased their prices for waste treatment from VND2 million per ton up to VND6 million (US$316) per ton.


However, their combined treatment capacity can meet only 5 percent of the city’s total volume of toxic waste, Mr. Nhut said.





Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Complaints escalate over HVS use of toxic slag

In Vietnam Society on January 11, 2010 at 5:50 am

Objections from residents in the communes of My Giang and Ninh Yen in the central province of Khanh Hoa are mounting over what they say is the surreptitious use of toxic copper slag by the Hyundai Vinashin Shipyard Co. (HVS).








Resident Dinh Van Tien of central Khanh Hoa Province holds up his hand to show what he says is a layer of toxic copper slag dust which continually accumulates in his home. Locals are worried that the substance used by the HVS company is harming their health (Photo: SGGP)

Locals say the shipbuilding company has ordered workers to repair vessels at night using the toxic substance, known as nix grain, despite orders from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) to stop.


The environmental pollution caused from the nix worries the residents, who say they fear for their health and that of their children.


Ms. Trinh Thi Thu, 31, who lives in a residential quarter to the southwest of HVS in My Giang Commune, said evidence nix grain use was everywhere. She said a thick cover of dark nix dust could be seen on the surface and bottom of her washbasin.


Resident Dinh Van Tien, 60, meanwhile, showed reporters how a layer of nix dust could be seen on his hand after wiping it over a surface in his living room.


Locals are especially concerned about the health of their children from exposure to the dust, which experts say can cause cancer over a long period. In 2009, the two communes reported five people died of cancer while local nurse Nguyen Van Son affirmed many more suffered chronic respiratory sickness including bronchitis, sinusitis and pneumonia.


Initial concern was voiced by locals when the Atlantic Star vessel from South Korea arrived at HVS on December 28 to offload 20,000 tons of copper slag as permitted by the provincial government.


Residents say a team from HVS then visited commune households asking people not to complain about the shipment and not say anything negative about the company. They also claim they were asked to sign a document stating that no family members suffered from respiratory disease, and allege that local administrators helped HVS persuade residents not to reveal the information to the press.


Recently, resident Le Loc claimed that January 5 a member of HVS told him the dust in his house was simply incense residues. He said he flew into a fit of rage at the suggestion.


Vice Chairman of Khanh Hoa Nguyen Chien Thang said the province would send a detailed report about the import of nix grain to the government and MoNRE. In addition, the province will hold the 20,000 tons of nix in a warehouse until the Vietnam-Korea joint venture comes up with a solution to treat an initial 800,000 tons of nix it had earlier produced itself. Only then would it be allowed to use the imported slag, Mr. Thang said.


He skirted the issue, however, of who would be in charge of the imported-nix warehouse and whether HVS would be punished for using the slag without permission.


The government has extended the timeline for treating the waste nix to the end of 2010, while a treatment plant invested in by the Hanoi Mineral Metallurgy Joint-Stock Company in Ninh Hoa District will not begin operations until next year.


It will take at least three years to treat the earlier produced 800,000 tons of toxic waste and local residents will thus be forced to live with the pollution for years to come.

Related articles:
Locals accuse HVS of continued nightly toxin use
Residents worry over HVS dumping of toxic slag


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

National investigation launched into toxic watermelon seeds

In Vietnam Health on December 15, 2009 at 10:00 am








Health authorities will test watermelon seeds for the presence of a cancer-causing chemical across the country

Following claims that some watermelon seeds sold in central Vietnam had been soaked in a toxic cancer-causing substance, health authorities said they would launch a nationwide investigation.


Le Thi Hong Hao, deputy head of the National Institute for Testing Food Safety, said the institute would work with inspectors from the Vietnam Food Administration (VFA) to collect samples of watermelon seeds for tests. The results will be announced shortly.


Earlier, the Danang Department of Health reported it had found watermelon seeds soaked with Rhodamine, a toxic substance prohibited for use in food, for sale in local markets.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Inquiry launched into toxic watermelon seeds

In Vietnam Society on December 13, 2009 at 4:04 am

Officials from the Binh Thuan Province Department of Health conducted a surprise inspection December 11 of the Tan Phat Company to investigate claims it was selling toxic watermelon seeds.








Health officials inspect Tan Phat Company’s watermelon seeds in the central province of Binh Thuan December 11 (Photo: nguoilaodong)

Earlier, the Danang Department of Health reported it had found the company’s watermelon seeds soaked with Rhodamine, a toxic substance which can cause cancer and is prohibited for use in food.


The health department together with representatives from the Sub-department of Food Hygiene and Safety and Market Management Sub-Department in Binh Thuan, took samples and sent them to the Ho Chi Minh City Institute of Hygiene and Public Health for tests.


Inspectors sealed off more than 80 tons of watermelon seeds in the company’s warehouse with 79 tons from China, and asked the company to temporarily halt business while waiting for the test results and a final decision from authorities.



 


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share