The Korea Herald


Colombian avocados found to have excessive level of pesticides

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : April 21, 2023 - 16:05

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Colombian avocados imported to South Korea (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety) Colombian avocados imported to South Korea (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety)

More than 200 times the amount of pesticides permitted on avocados had been detected in those shipped from Colombia to South Korea, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

In 22,080 kilograms of Colombian avocados imported by a Korean agricultural product trade platform operator Tridge, 2.03 milligrams per kilogram of thiabendazole had been detected. This is much higher than the standard of 0.01 milligram per kilogram set by the Korean regulator.

Thiabendazole, a fungicide and pesticide used to control a slew of fruit and vegetable diseases such as mold, blight, rot and stains, can cause gastrointestinal abnormalities or mild inhibitions in the central nervous system when consumed in excess by humans.

The Ministry of Food said that it is currently retrieving all the avocados that had been declared unfit for sale, emphasizing that customers who bought the products must return them to the store.

The Ministry of Food told The Korea Herald that the authorities are figuring out where the avocados had been sold to -- but Tridge, the company responsible for the import of the Colombian avocados in question, has so far failed to provide the necessary information about the retail chains they sold the products to.

"However, we found that the avocados had not been sold to large supermarket chains," the official from Ministry of Food added.

The Food Ministry elaborated that the recent violation of pesticide residue regulations seems to stem from the differing regulations between Colombia and South Korea.

Colombia has a lower bar on the use of thiabendazole than Korea.

Tridge could not be reached for comment on whether there had been an oversight in examining the imported avocados.