Many Hong Kong consumers are willing to pay more for organic vegetables, but a university research center suggests that people should make sure they are buying such products from vendors holding certificates verifying that their wares are actually organic.

The Organic Resource Center at Hong Kong Baptist University said it recently checked more than 460 vegetable stalls at around 100 wet markets in the city and found that 61.5% of vendors claiming to be selling organic vegetables lacked such certificates, Ta Kung Pao reported.

Only 38.5% of the vendors had obtained certificates to prove they were selling genuine organic vegetables.

The research took place in September and October last year in 17 districts across Hong Kong.

A total of 35% of the vendors in wet markets in Yau Tsim Mong district (Yau Ma Tei, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok) claiming that they were selling organic vegetables lacked certificates backing their claims, with somewhat fewer vendors in Sha Tin and Wan Chai lacking such documents.

The center’s director, Jonathan Wong, said it was difficult for customers to tell if vegetables really are organic based just on their price and appearance, Oriental Daily reported.

Wong said laws should be brought in on the certification of organic goods.