Shandong peanuts declared safe to eat
Source: CRI | 10-23-2008 11:31
The agriculture department of east China's Shandong Province has verified that suggestions about deaths caused by eating allegedly toxic peanuts in the local Feixian County are groundless.
The administration said the so-called 'victims' who died from eating peanuts didn't actually exist, China National Radio reports.
Investigations also showed that no patient has ever received treatment in any of the county's 25 hospitals for eating poisoned peanuts since the harvest season commenced and the police haven't received reports of this either.
In addition, sample tests proved the local peanut products are safe as no pesticide residue has been discovered, the provincial watchdog added.
An article posted on September 13th on Baidu.com, a leading domestic online search engine provider, revealed a local resident, Mr. Jiang, found all his fingers became irritated after digging for peanuts.
In a reply post, four people from a local family in Feixian were reported to have died after eating such so-called toxic peanuts.
Nearby Pingyi County was also affected by the toxic legumes, according to the posts.
Two pesticides, Phoxim and Nemagon Nematam, which can work to contribute to increased yields, were believed by locals to have caused the incidents, the articles said.
However Liu Yi, head of the Shandong Academy of Occupational Health and Occupational Medicine, reasoned that poisoning by absorbing the pesticide residues in peanuts was nearly impossible.
The two pesticides were usually used in the early stages of peanut planting and can be effective for no more than three months. But the growing period for peanuts would last for four months, so there would be fewer traces of chemical residue when the peanuts were reaped and by then they would be almost harmless, Liu explained.
The local authorities are tracking the source of the rumor, the report said.
A report from the Xinhua News Agency also said Wednesday that the rumour could have resulted from competitors in the local pesticide market as Phoxim was mainly being used by the local peanut planters.