Greenpeace has claimed food products sold at Tesco‘s stores in China contain illegal levels of pesticides.

The pressure group said it had commissioned tests revealing that fruit, vegetables and rice showed traces of pesticide including methamidophos and monocrotophos, which the environmental organisation says have been banned in China since 2007.

“I am sure British people expect the fruit and vegetables they buy at Tesco shops in the UK to be safe to eat, so why shouldn’t this be the case in China?” Greenpeace food and agriculture campaigner Wang Jing said last week.

“Tesco is not complying with the law in China. It is shirking its responsibility to protect the wellbeing of its customers and the environment. Its negligence is in stark contrast to overseas retailers operating in China that have already committed to remove the more harmful pesticides from their produce, such as France’s Carrefour and Auchan, and Japan’s AEON (Jusco) and Ito Yokado.”

However, Tesco conducted their own tests on the product lines alleged to be unsafe and say they are safe.

A spokesman said: “Our initial tests have shown these products to be safe for customers and compliant with local laws.

“Food safety is a vital part of the trust we want our customers to place in us. All of the samples tested were safe for customers and compliant with Chinese law.

“We have asked Greenpeace for further evidence to help us trace these products back to their source so we can conduct further tests and ensure that the suppliers are complying with our strict controls on the use of pesticides.”

The test results were part of a wider Greenpeace study of pesticide residues on agricultural goods sold at Chinese stores owned by Tesco and two other major supermarket chains, Thailand’s Lotus, also owned by Tesco, and China’s Bailian Group.