UK pesticide testing finds 2pc of samples above legal limit
sampled contained residues above the maximum permitted levels, with
organic products from Spain and France topping the mark.
"None of these residues were likely to cause concern for people's health," the UK environmental department's Pesticide Residues Committee (PRC) said in its quarterly report on testing.
The testing included mainly fresh produce, including exotic fruits, which contained above average residues. Two organic samples contained conventional pesticide residues. All the chicken, milk and infant formula samples contained no residues.
"It is important to stress that the positive effects of eating fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced healthy diet far outweigh any concern about pesticide residues," the PRC stated.
The testing found that 61.1 per cent of the 1,247 samples of 24 different foods tested had no detectable residues, and 36.9 per cent contained levels below the legally permitted level, called he maximum residue level (MRL).
A total of 25 of the samples contained residues above the maximum permitted levels. The two per cent that contained residues in excess of the maximum permitted levels is at the higher end of the PRC's our annual average value range of between one and two per cent.
This is because testing during the first quarter focused more on fresh produce and less on processed produce, the PRC stated. The scientists also targeted produce that is likely to contain pesticide residues.
"The PRC have looked carefully at all of the exceedances of the MRL and published a full risk assessment," said Ian Brown, chairman of the committee. "We are satisfied that the majority of the results give us no concern for consumer health."
The risk assessment for one grape sample containing monocrotophos indicates that the chemical could affect sensitive individuals, the PRC stated. Further testing will be targeting grapes in 2006 to check whether these residues reoccur this season. The health effects are reversible, the PRC stated.
The PRC decided to include organic samples as part of the survey because such foods are becoming more a part of people's diets. The testing found residues of conventional pesticides in two samples labelled as organic. The foods were garlic from Spain and turnips from France.
"We have asked suppliers and the authorities in exporting countries for an explanation of our findings," the PRC stated.