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64% of fruit & veg found in Thailand found unsafe due to pesticides

Over 60% of popular vegetables sold at shopping malls and markets are contaminated with a cocktail of pesticides farmers use to boost yields and ensure year-round sales, a food safety network warned Friday. 

The Thailand Pesticide Alert Network (Thai-PAN), a non-governmental organisation, conducted a survey on nine vegetables and six types of fruit in Bangkok and four other provinces in late August. 

It found 64% of 13 of the products including pak kana chine (Chinese kale), bai bua bok (pennywort) and cha om (climbing wattle) were not safe to eat as they contained harmful chemicals exceeding the maximum residue limit (MRL). 

The group found all of the tested fruit was contaminated while one-third contained very high residues, particularly imported and domestic grapes, pineapples and papayas. 

More worrying still, all of the tested produce was contaminated with multiple residues indicating a high usage of chemicals as farmers rely on a "cocktail of pesticides in their fanning process", Prokchol Ousap, a coordinator at Thai-PAN, said. 

Thai-PAN also surveyed produce sold at five supermarkets and found that even though it was more expensive the levels of contamination were higher than at provincial markets. 

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