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