Pesticide Levels In Fresh
Food Increase
By David Brown - Agriculture Editor
Traces of pesticide were found in nearly half the fresh fruit and vegetables sampled in spot checks by Government inspectors last year.
The Ministry of Agriculture's Working Party on Pesticides reported yesterday that residues were found in significantly more food samples than in 1998. Most were in food imported from abroad.
Those which caused the most concern were pears from Spain, Holland and Belgium and sweet peppers from Spain. The working party said even those foods with residues above the legal limits "were of no health concern", due to huge safety margins built into the calculations.
But Sandra Bell, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth, attacked the findings. She said: "The public will be dismayed to learn that almost half the fresh fruit and vegetables they are eating contains pesticides.
"The Government encourages people, including pregnant women and babies, to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, so they should be doing more to ensure that they are pesticide free.
"It is also unacceptable for Government advisers to say that pesticide residue levels are safe when "No one knows what long-term effect pesticides may have."

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