Second set of 2009 pesticide residue figures released

The British Pesticide Residues Committee published its second quarterly report
in 2009.

The report found that the majority of foods had no detectable residues and
those that did contain pesticides were not likely to be harmful to health.
Tests found that 490 out of 933 samples of 22 different foods tested had no
detectable residues. Also, 431 samples contained levels below the maximum
residue level (MRL) - the legally permitted amount.

Chairman of the committee Dr Ian Brown said: "The majority of food sampled
either does not contain detectable residues, or where residues are found, they
are in accordance with legal limits. The committee has looked carefully at all
of the residues above the MRL and we are satisfied that all the results are
unlikely to be of concern for consumer health.

"The results show 12 samples (1.29% of samples covered by the report) contained
residues above the legal levels. We have looked carefully at the findings and
concluded that in all cases the residues found were unlikely to have resulted
in any health effects for consumers.

"These results should reassure consumers that the food they eat continues to be
safe. I can understand that some people have concerns about pesticide residues
in their food, but as a doctor I cannot over-emphasise the importance of
continuing to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Scientific evidence shows that the health benefits far outweigh any concerns
about pesticide residues."

The Pesticide Residues Committee is an independent body which advises the
Government, the Food Standards Agency and the Chemicals Regulation Directorate.

Today's results are part of a £2 million food and drink monitoring programme
which takes place each year. The results cover a testing period up to April

The MRL is the maximum concentration of a pesticide residue - expressed as
milligrams per kilogram, or parts per million - legally permitted in or on our
food and animal feeds. The levels are not safety limits, but are set at levels
which protect the consumer. They are primarily a check that good agricultural
practice is being followed, and an MRL exceedance does not automatically imply
a hazard to health.

More info - Source: Health and Safety Executive