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Consumers Urged to Avoid Pesticide Residues

05 September 2013

UK - Pesticide residues in food have been increasing over recent years, with now as much as 40 per cent of food being shown to contain them by a Pesticide Action Network report.

The report, ‘Pesticides on a Plate’ has demonstrated the dramatic increase of residues in food from just 25 per cent in 2003 to nearly double at 46 per cent.

Based on this increase the report recommends suggestions for producers and consumers to reduce future residue concerns.

The level of the problem is detailed in the report with examples of various pesticides that have been shown to have residue issues in food directly available to consumers.

In a 2011 survey the pesticides Dieldrin was demonstrated to be present on six products ranging from Burgers, Oily fish and smoked fish, to courgettes and cucumbers.

Smoked fish was shown to be the worst offender with 20.37 per cent of the samples tested containing residues.

It has been shown that residues of the pesticide DDT, which has been banned since the 1970’s, are still showing up in oily fish residues.

With the increased level of residues being seen in food, Pesticide Action Network aims to reduce these incidences by making some recommendations for producers and consumers.

It is suggested that the UK Government should encourage integrated pest management and organic production methods to focus production on non-chemical pest and weed control methods.

The report claimed the retailers have a role in making residue testing data more available to the public, with a suggestion that larger retailers should be publicising their own residue testing data.

There is also a call for further research - government and independently funded - into the potential effects pesticide residues could be having on human health.

Consumers have a role to play in reducing their exposure to pesticide residues explains the report. It is suggested where possible that consumers should buy organic fruit and vegetables. The peel on non-organic fruit may be carrying a residue, so advice is to not eat it.

Other advice to consumers all involves being aware of where your fresh produce comes from, there is even suggestion that, if in doubt, consumers should grow their own.


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