Gov’t Researcher Responds to Wine Contamination Allegations

August 14, 2012

China is greatly concerned about pesticide residue levels in wines and other food products, a government researcher said Monday.

Yan Weixing, a researcher with the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment, said pesticide residue, which he believed was unavoidable in a modernized world, would pose no threat to humans if it is controlled within the normal range and its risks are fully gauged before use.

Yan also pledged that the health authorities would tighten supervision over pesticides when he was asked to respond to an alleged wine contamination case during a Health Ministry press conference.

The Securities Market Weekly, a Chinese financial magazine, carried a report on Aug. 9 saying that 10 wine products from three Chinese wine makers were sample tested and found to contain excessive levels of pesticide residues carbendazim and metalaxyl.

High doses of carbendazim, a widely-used fungicide, could cause infertility issues and could possibly lead to liver cancer, according to the magazine.

Following the report, the board of directors of Changyu, a leading Chinese wine maker whose products were listed among the samples, issued a statement on its official website on Aug. 11, saying all its products were up to national standards.

Song Quanhou, deputy head of the China National Research Institute of Food & Fermentation Industries, who signed the sample test report, told the media on Aug. 11 that the samples could not be identified as Changyu products and no past record has shown that the company’s products were contaminated by pesticides.

According to the results of the sample test, the amount of carbendazim contained in the wine samples ranged from 0.00157mg/kg to 0.01942 mg/kg, below the maximum pesticide residue limits set by the EU and China, which are set at 0.5 mg/kg and 3mg/kg, respectively. The amount of metalaxyl in the wine samples ranged from 0.00211mg/kg to 0.01414 mg/kg, below the maximum pesticide residue limits in the EU and China, which are both set at 1 mg/kg.


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