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High levels of pesticide found on Thai basil from Waianae farm

    High levels of pesticide were found in Thai basil grown on a farm in Waianae.

The state Health Department last month halted the delivery of Thai basil from a farm in Waianae and ordered crops destroyed after finding unacceptable levels of pesticide residue.

The health department said 5,000 pounds of Thai basil grown at Wong Hon Hin, Inc.’s farm was destroyed on Sept. 30.

Routine screening samples taken at a local produce distributor showed “illegal levels of the organophosphate insecticide Malathion on Thai basil,” the department said in a news release. “Department of Health conducted a trace back investigation to identify the producer of the basil. Confirmatory samples taken at the farm revealed illegal pesticide levels on Thai basil growing at Wong Hon Hin Inc.”

With the affected crops destroyed, produce from the farm will now have to clear three consecutive months of sampling for pesticide contamination levels.

The Hawaii Department of Health said in its news release that it “conducts routine screening of raw agricultural commodities from major distributors, farmers markets, and large farms throughout the state to ensure locally grown fruits and vegetables meet state health standards for food safety.” 

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