Local organic vegetables found to contain traces of lead

A disquieting amount of lead content has been found in vegetables from local organic farms, say researchers from Hong Kong Baptist University.

This has sparked concerns that non-organic vegetables may have been mixed with organic products to maximise the farms' profits.

Three samples of amaranth, two from local organic farms obtained from wet markets in Tsuen Wan and Yuen Long, contained lead levels between 0.13 to 0.16 milligrams per kilogram. These were collected along with 63 samples of leafy vegetables by the university’s Organic Resource Centre between September and November 2015.

Although they fall within the local standard of 6mg/kg, the readings exceed the Australian standard of 0.1mg/kg, and are also considered rather high by European, Chinese and WHO standards of 0.3mg/kg.

Samples subsequently found in the organic farms in question however had much lower lead levels than those taken from the wet markets, the research team discovered.

In light of this, researchers have called for more stringent monitoring of organic farms' sales.

Photo by Elina Mark (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


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