30 November 2000
Lettuce pesticides ‘no health risk’

By FWi staff

BRITISH lettuces contain chemicals used inappropriately or excessively, according to Government pesticide watchdogs.

But the Pesticides Residue Committee, which published monitoring findings for the early part of the year on Thursday (30 November), stresses this poses no health risk.

For while figures exceeded residues expected for the correct use of pesticides, the levels recorded represented no danger to consumers, said the committee.

Tests on 35 samples of UK and imported lettuces found three UK-produced samples contained residues exceeding maximum residue levels (MRL).

A further sample was found to contain seven pesticide residues including fungicides pyrimethanil, which is used on apples and strawberries, and oxadixyl.

The committee said this suggested non-approved use and that discussion of these results would continue.

Broccoli from southern Europe was found to contain traces of insecticide chloryrifos and fungicide iprodione exceeding MRLs.

Tests on milk found no trace of lindane, which had been detected in the past, while very low residues were found in 10% of baby food samples tested.

Ducks, which due to their relatively high fat content have the potential to retain organophosphate residues, tested negative for the chemical.

While 60% of bulb onions tested had residues of maleic hydrazide, the committee said this was not unexpected as the chemical is approved for use as a plant growth regulator.

Levels were below the MRL for all onion samples.