Pesticide residues remain low - Farmers Weekly

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Pesticide residues remain low

The number of food samples containing pesticide residues remains low, according to the latest Pesticide Residues Committee’s quarterly report.

Overall, 65% of the 1126 samples of 22 different foods tested had no detectable residues and 33.3% contained levels below the legally permitted maximum residues level (MRL).

Just 19 samples (1.7%) contained residues above the maximum permitted level, although none of these were likely to cause concern for human health, said PRC chairman, Ian Brown.

“We have looked carefully at each of these exceedances and in every case the presence of these residues was unlikely to have resulted in any adverse health effects for consumers.

“We have asked suppliers for an explanation of our findings. The results should reassure consumers that the food they eat continues to be safe.”

A copy of the report is available at

Pesticide residues remain low

PESTICIDE RESIDUE levels in food remain low, according to latest report from the Pesticide Residues Committee .

The annual report of the independent body found that 99.3% of food samples tested were either residue free or within accepted levels.

Over 4,000 samples of imported and home produced food taken from shops, markets, ports and wholesale suppliers were tested for a range of pesticides.

“The results in this report continue to demonstrate the high standard of food safety in the UK,” said Ian Brown, chairman of the committee.

He said the results collected during 2003 had been reassuring and that the percentage of maximum residue level (MRL) exceedances remained low at 0.7%.

“But we are not complacent. We have made changes during 2003 to strengthen the surveillance scheme.”

These changes involve broadening the sample base to include places which supply retailers, such as ports, wholesalers and supply depots, leading to larger, more representative samples, he said.

Welcoming the findings, Peter Sanguinetti, chief executive of the Crop Protection Agency said: “These are very encouraging results. We must remember that MRL‘s are set well below safety limits.”

“The positive effects of eating fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet are well proven and far outweigh concerns over pesticide residues.”

Results of the latest report can be found at

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