Date
27 March 2017
Hong Kong does not import vegetables from Tianjin at this time of year, according to the Vegetable Marketing Organization, an umbrella group of vegetable merchants. Photo: Reuters
Hong Kong does not import vegetables from Tianjin at this time of year, according to the Vegetable Marketing Organization, an umbrella group of vegetable merchants. Photo: Reuters

Hong Kong merchants may halt Tianjin vegetable imports

Hong Kong vegetable merchants are considering suspending imports from Tianjin’s after last week’s blast at a chemical complex fueled fears about toxic contamination.

Any such decision will have little impact on Hong Kong’s vegetable supply because most of the buying from Tianjin takes place during winter, Headline Daily reports, citing Yuen Cheung, chairman of the Hong Kong Imported Vegetable Wholesale Merchants Association.

The massive explosion, which tore through a factory complex in Binhai New Area, is suspected to have contaminated the air and water with toxic chemicals including cyanide.

Cheung Chi-keung, vice chairman of the Kowloon Fruit and Vegetable Merchants Association, said it’s not known if imported pears are affected.

The fruit is grown in Tianjin and other areas in Hebei province.

Last night, the Center for Food Safety made inquiries with mainland authorities about any plans to suspend food exports from the affected areas.

The Vegetable Marketing Organization, an umbrella group of vegetable merchants, said Hong Kong does not import vegetables from Tianjin at this time of year.

Also, only a small volume of fish and live cattle imports come from there.

Hong Kong gets broccoli, carrots and cabbages from seven vegetable markets in Tianjin, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

These markets are located 70 kilometers to 100 kilometers from the blast site.

Tests by environmental group Greenpeace on water samples from within 10 kilometers of the explosion have come back negative for cyanide, it said.

However, it said the results don’t guarantee there is no cyanide contamination.

It urged the authorities to conduct further checks on water quality.

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TL/AC/RA

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