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NZFSA must investigate pesticide residues in food

Press Release – Green Party

It is unacceptable that more than 90% of fruit and vegetables tested in the latest Food Residue Surveillance programme contained pesticide residues, Green Party food safety spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.26 October 2010

NZFSA must investigate pesticide residues found in food

It is unacceptable that more than 90% of fruit and vegetables tested in the latest Food Residue Surveillance programme contained pesticide residues, Green Party food safety spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

As well as pesticide residue in a large proportion of the fruit and vegetables the Food Residue Surveillance programme uncovered residues of a highly toxic insecticide Endosulfan in a cucumber.

“Endosulfan was banned in New Zealand almost two years ago, and yet it is still turning up in cucumbers,” Ms Kedgley said.

“The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) need to investigate why this has happened, and whether growers in New Zealand are still illegally using this insecticide, or whether the contaminated cucumbers had been imported from Australia, where Endosulfan is still used,” Ms Kedgley said.

Ms Kedgley said she was also concerned that half of the samples of bok choi the authority had tested contained illegally high levels of pesticides.

“When over half the samples are turning up high percentages of illegal pesticides, the NZFSA should be concerned rather than claiming everything is hunky dory,” said Ms Kedgley.

“What is the point of surveys if the NZFSA is simply going to downplay and dismiss the results?”

“The NZFSA should be developing a strategy to reduce pesticide residues in our locally grown and imported produce.

“Some of the worst instances of contamination found by the NZFSA survey were in imported grapes, bananas and oranges,” said Ms Kedgley.

“However, as the NZFSA refused to say which countries the produce was imported from, consumers are still in the dark as to the origin of these contaminated imports.”

Link to the Food Residue Surveillance programme:
http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/science/research-projects/food-residues-surveillance-programme/

ENDS

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