Daily News Archive
From January 24, 2002

Pesticide Found in Bread Produced Using Organic Flour from Australia

The Japan Offspring Fund, a Tokyo-based public interest organization, found post-harvest pesticides in bread produced with organic flour. Pesticide residue was also found in Australian organic flour, baked by the First Baking Co. Ltd., Tokyo. Thanks to the revised Japanese Agriculture Standard, fraudulent organic products have begun to be regulated and are decreasing. However, fraudulent organic foods remain in the marketplace.

Even if flour is produced organically, producers sometimes use pesticides after harvesting, leading to pesticide residue in the final product. The bread tested by the Japan Offspring Fund contained chlorpyrifos-methyl, a neurotoxic organophosphate insecticide, which is having many of its uses phased-out in the US. The detected amount was 5 ppb (Analysis by Japan Food Research Laboratories), compared to 1.8 ppb found in conventional bread.

The Japan Offspring Fund also tested five organic flours from three cities in the US, and one flour from Australia. Among the 6 organic flours, chlorpyrifos-methyl of 240 ppb was found in Australian flour. The Australian flour is certified by BFA, the same certification agency which certified the flour of the First Baking, Co, Ltd.

Organic produce does not mean there are no pesticide residues. If the residue is less than 5% of the pesticide residue level decided for conventional products, it is legal. However, the use of post-harvest pesticide is not allowed for organic products. Since the chlorpyrifos-methyl is only used as a post harvest pesticide, detection of even a small amount of this pesticide means the product is illegal.

To read more, visit the Japan Offspring Fund website at http://www.mmjp.or.jp/JOF/english/engindex.htm.