New Zealand: Food safety
survey finds low pesticide residues
of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Food-safety-survey-finds-low-pesticide-residues
By Guy Montague-Jones, 20-Aug-2009
New research from New Zealand has
found minimal pesticide residues in the local food supply casting further
doubt on the value of organic products.
In recent weeks organic food
has faced some criticism after the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK
called into question its nutritional value. In a review of studies, the FSA
said that with a limited number of exceptions organic food is
indistinguishable nutritionally from conventional alternatives.
Now its sister food body, the New Zealand
Food Safety Authority (NZFSA), has unveiled results of a five-year study
looking at exposure to pesticide
residues in the national diet. The conclusion that “the
average New Zealand diet presents no chemical residue food safety concerns”,
further undermine the argument from the organic lobby that pesticide
residues from conventional foods are a health hazard.
Analysing more than 120 commonly eaten and locally produced foods in
the New Zealand diet, NZFSA said the Total Diet Study (TDS) has so far
reaffirmed that residues in food are not a problem in the country.
Project manager Cherie Flynn said: “From 60,000 analyses, there
were just two areas we had another look at.”
These two cases were non-compliance with pesticide limits in
tomatoes from Napier and higher than expected levels of lead in breads from
the same town. Flynn said neither of these areas presents a health concern.
“Once again New Zealand food producers have proven, almost without
exception, to have high regard for good agricultural practice and are
taking care to meet all regulatory requirements,” concluded Flynn.
The Soil & Health Association of New Zealand was not so convinced
by the study saying that the NZFSA was guilty of downplaying the threat of
pesticides in the country.
Need for organics
The association, which promotes organic food and farming in New
Zealand, said the survey shows a need for organics.
Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning said the survey
found that most composite regional food samples contained pesticide
residues, with several having significant multiple residues.
“It is time for food without pesticide residues – this means
organics,” said Browning.
“Analysis of the Food Residue Surveillance Programme results for
celery and spinach, showed 100 per cent of the celery samples, and 75 per
cent of the spinach samples contained pesticide residues, with many samples
containing multiple residues.”
“The celery and spinach were mostly contaminated with chlorothalinol
(Bravo) or dithiocarbomates respectively, and sometimes with both. Other
toxic pesticides were also found, this showing the need for to boost