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4 Oahu farms ordered to halt basil sales

Published on May 13, 2012 3:01AM

Last changed on May 13, 2012 5:11PM

HONOLULU (AP) -- Four farms on Oahu have been ordered to stop selling some of their basil crop after state health inspectors found remnants of unapproved pesticides on the herbs.

During inspections in Oahu, the residue of unapproved pesticides was found on the basil from S & Z Farm LLC, Green Produce LLC, Luo's Plantation and Fat Law's Farm, officials said Friday. The basil was found to be tainted with methomyl, dimethoate and carbaryl, a violation of state and federal regulations, officials told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/JuB5Mx).

The pesticides are approved for use on other vegetables but not specifically for basil.

There was no significant public health threat from consuming the basil because the pesticides quickly degrade with time from field to table, officials said.

Still, health officials were going forward with accelerated testing of basil, said Gary Gill, the department's deputy director for environmental health.

"Working together, our agencies can reach out to and educate farm workers more quickly to ensure the safety of produce grown in Hawaii," Gill said in a statement. "We will expedite follow-up testing to confirm that these farms may resume their distribution and sale of basil."

At least three of the farms have responded by destroying some of their basil crop.

Basil is $5 million cash crop in Hawaii, with 80 percent to 90 percent exported.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

Copyright 2012 The AP.


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