Greenpeace's China representatives have blown the whistle on two top Hong Kong supermarket chains that they claim were selling fresh produce 240 times over the EU limits for pesticides.

The environment group conducted its investigations from November 2005 to March 2006 at several Parknshop and Wellcome stores in HK. The two stores are the biggest supermarket chains in the territory.

The investigation shows that over 70% of the vegetable samples taken contained pesticide residues, and 30% of these exceeded international standards.  Banned pesticides, such as Lindane, a chemical used to kill lice and banned in Hong Kong in 1991, were also found in some samples.

Greenpeace urged China, which has a poor record of pesticide monitoring, to increase its vigilance.

"As HK's biggest fresh vegetables retailers, both supermarket chains should make sure their produce are complying with Hong Kong standards. Banned pesticide nor excessive pesticide residues are never acceptable in the vegetables we eat," said Greenpeace campaigner Chow Yuen Ping.