BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
High pesticide levels in popular fruit
Experts examined 15 types of fruit and vegetables
Some of the most popular fruit and vegetables sold in the UK have traces of pesticide that exceed safety limits, experts have found.

A report by the government's Pesticide Residues Committee also found eight chemicals that are not approved for use in the UK on some of the portions they examined.

Of the 15 types of fruit and vegetables tested, 11 had pesticide residues in excess of the maximum recommended levels (MRL). These included strawberries, grapes, potatoes and mushrooms.


We're appalled by this cocktail of risky pesticides in foods which should be a healthy choice

Sandra Bell, Friends of the Earth
However, writing in their quarterly report the experts said none of the residues was high enough to pose a risk to human health.

Nevertheless, the tests showed that 13% of peaches had chemicals left behind that exceeded recommended levels.

Safe limits

Similarly, one in ten star fruit and one in 20 nectarines breached the limits.

The rates for other produce were: celery 4%; mango 3%; grapes 2%; strawberries 2%; mushrooms 1%; lettuces 1%; tangerines 1%; and potatoes 1%.

These included fruit and vegetables grown in the UK and imported from abroad.

The committee also carried out tests on nine other types of food, including milk, tea, bread and salmon.

Of the 24 items examined, all except cow's milk had traces of pesticide.

Residues were detected in 25 of the 27 samples of lemon examined, 71 of the 73 fresh salmon samples, and 115 of the 179 strawberries tested.

Of the items with traces of illegal pesticides, all were grown in the UK.

These included traces of iprodine in samples of celery. Studies have suggested that this chemical may interfere with human hormones.

Non-approved pesticides were also found in strawberries, mushrooms and lettuces.

'No health risks'

Dr Ian Brown, chairman of the committee, said: "The Pesticide Residues Committee's remit is to keep a close eye on pesticide use and in particular this set of results has led us to look carefully at a number of products in which a proportion of the samples tested exceeded MRLs.

"Where this occurred each incident has been subjected to detailed risk assessment taking into account the extremes of dietary intake and the acute reference dose.

"Accordingly the PRC is of the opinion that none of the samples tested present safety concerns for consumers."

However, Sandra Bell, pesticide campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: "We're appalled by this cocktail of risky pesticides in foods which should be a healthy choice such as strawberries, lettuce and celery.

"It's clear that the government must crack down more on imported food which contains dodgy chemicals but it must also do more to help farmers in the UK to get off the chemical treadmill."

See also:

16 Aug 01 | Science/Nature
02 Jul 01 | Science/Nature
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes