One in five samples of various imported vegetables bought at Hong Kong markets had excessive amounts of cadmium, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday, citing a Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) study.
PolyU said it tested 20 samples of mainland-sourced vegetables, including water cress, bamboo fungus and dried mushrooms, and four exceeded city limits of cadmium by 15 to 94 percent.
Mushrooms bought from the Pei Ho Street Market in Sham Shui Po had the highest levels of the metal, with nearly double the allowable amount.
Cadmium can cause serious kidney damage and anemia, among other conditions, if consumed over a long period.
Three other samples also had high levels of mercury compared with official mainland standards, which are higher than Hong Kong standards, the report said. Excessive mercury intake can damage the central nervous system.
The Centre for Food Safety said the government has already set up a task force to review food safety standards.
The center also urged shoppers to thoroughly wash vegetables and soak them in water to minimize dust and dirt which might contain contaminants.
The centre tested 27,000 vegetable samples last year, with three reported to have excessive cadmium content, the report said.
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