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FOOD & BEVERAGE | Cesar Tordesillas, Hong Kong

Falsely labelled "organic" vegetables seized

 The Customs and Excise Department seized about 100 catties of assorted vegetables falsely claimed to be organic vegetables worth about $1,140.


This came from a vegetable retailer in Causeway Bay that was raided. During the operation, a shop manageress aged 31 was arrested for further investigation.

The department received a complaint that a vegetable retail shop in Tin Hau, Causeway Bay, was selling vegetables falsely claiming to be produce from an organic farm registered with Hong Kong Organic Resource Centre Certification Limited of the Hong Kong Baptist University. 

During the raid, the shop was found displaying prominently a copy of an HKORC certificate that showed that the vegetables for sale were produce from a farm in Yuen Long certified by HKORC as a farm complying with the organic production and processing standard for vegetables. Investigation revealed that the vegetables were not produced by that organic farm but came from the Vegetable Marketing Organisation at Cheung Sha Wan Vegetable Wholesale Market and the Fruit Wholesale Market in Yau Ma Tei.

Customs Officers seized 107 catties of misrepresented organic vegetables including potatoes, tomatoes, yams, pumpkins, white cabbages, watermelons, chestnuts, maize and beans on the spot. The arrested shop manageress is now on police bail pending further investigation.

A Customs spokesman said the retail prices of organic vegetables are about double those of ordinary ones. Unscrupulous vegetable traders might falsely claim their products are organic with certification from an approved body to make a higher profit.

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