Daily News Archive

Food Sold in UK Contain Residues of Banned Pesticides
(from August 15, 2002)

Residues of banned pesticides have been found in food sold in the UK, according to the UK Pesticide Residues Committee report. Although the committee also reported half of lettuce tested contained illegal pesticide traces, there was a significant fall in the number of apples testing positive for pesticides.

According to a report from Friends of the Earth UK, the Pesticide Residue Committee revealed illegal pesticide traces were found in yams (with the fungicide carbendazim), and a UK grown lettuce (with vinclozolin - a fungicide not approved for use on lettuce in the UK). Traces of lindane, which is now banned in the UK, were also found in beef. 61 percent of sweet potatoes contained the fungicide dicloran and half of all lettuce samples contained pesticide residues. 27 percent of apples contained residues, a significant improvement on previous years.

"It is also alarming to see banned chemicals finding their way into food sold in the UK," said Sandra Bell, Pesticides Campaigner at Friends of the Earth (FOE). "It is now illegal for pesticides at any level to be found in processed baby food because infants are more sensitive to their vulnerable to their effects. The same law should apply to all fresh fruit and vegetables. The Government's food safety advisors have said we should aim for residue-free food, but [these] results confirm there is still a long way to go. Retailers and the Government must be more vigilant about illegal pesticides in imported produce, and do more to help UK farmers find alternatives to risky pesticides."

The Pesticide Residues Committee provides advice to Ministers and the Chief Executives of the Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on matters relating to the surveillance program for pesticides residues in the UK food supply. It meets approximately four times a year in York.

View the Pesticide Residue Committee report.

View the FOE survey of supermarkets and food containing pesticides, published earlier this month.

For more background information contact Friends of the Earth, 26-28 Underwood St., LONDON, N1 7JQ, Phone: 020-7490-1555,
Fax: 020-7490-0881, Email: [email protected], Website: http://www.foe.co.uk.