Waianae Farm Ordered to Cease Green Onion Sales
By Wendy Osher
The state Department of Health has ordered the destruction and disposal of 800 pounds of fresh green onions from a farm in Waianae.
Officials with the DOH Food and Drug Branch say an unapproved pesticide was found on the product during routine sampling at the Wong Hon Hin, Inc. farm.
The DOH ordered the company to cease sale of all suspect products until follow-up testing can be done showing no pesticide residue.
The sampling took place on October 17, 2011, and results were received from the state laboratory on October 27. According to state records, sampling of the green onions showed 0.071 parts per million of oxamyl, a pesticide not approved by the EPA for use on green onions.
Oxamyl is only approved for use on a variety of vegetables, and has an allowable range from 0.1 ppm for carrots up to 10 ppm for celery. Green onions, Hawai’i health officials say, have a zero tolerance for oxamyl.
Wong Hon Hin Inc. was notified on October 28 to cease the sale of all suspect green onions. That afternoon a follow-up sample indicated 0.309 ppm of oxamyl on the green onions.
A DOH Food and Drug inspector was on hand to witness the destruction of approximately 800 pounds of green onions yesterday.
The DOH believes that the crop of green onions tested on October 17th was distributed to consumers in Hawai‘i. Because the pesticide is allowed in greater amounts on other crops, the department does not consider the situation to be a significant threat to public health.