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Pesticide Residue Study Shows Organics Better

09 May 2002

Green Party Organics spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today a ground-breaking study on pesticide residues has confirmed what most people already know - organic food is much safer to eat.

The American study published in peer-reviewed journal Food Additives and Contaminants yesterday is the first to compare pesticide residue data for organic and conventional produce. Researchers analyzed test data for more than 94,000 samples.

"This research shows once and for all that organic food contains much less pesticide residues than conventional food," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"That's why people search it out, that's why they're prepared to pay more, and that's why organic sales are booming," he said.

Highlights of the study were: * USDA tests found 73 percent of conventional crops contained at least one pesticide residue, compared to 23 percent of the same organic crop. * Conventional crops were six times more likely to have multiple pesticide residues. * Over 90 percent of conventional apples, peaches, pears, strawberries and celery were contaminated.

Mr Ewen-Street said some people would be surprised to learn that organic food had any pesticide residues at all, but it demonstrates how vulnerable organic growers are to spray-drift and soil/water contamination.

"Organic growers choose not to use pesticides on their crops, but they have very little control over what their neighbours choose to do. I would dearly like to see a robust spray-drift law put in place in New Zealand, which would give both organic and non-organic farmers a method of redress if they or their land suffer because of spray-drift."


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