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Pesticide contamination endemic in food supply

Pesticide contamination endemic in food supply

The latest Total Diet Survey reveals that pesticide contamination is endemic in our food supply, despite the efforts by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority to convince us otherwise, Green MP Sue Kedgley said today.

"This latest survey shows that 24 out of 25 fruit and vegetables that were sampled were contaminated with pesticide residues," said Ms Kedgley, the Green Party's Food Safety spokesperson.

"Many of them contained a veritable cocktail of pesticide residues -13 in grapes, nine in apples, seven in celery and six in nectarines.

"Of the total number of 56 different foods sampled, only seven were free of pesticide residues: coffee, ham, lamb's liver mussels, oysters, oranges and hot potato chips. Even then, mussels and oysters were found to contain elevated levels of heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium and lead.

"No wonder the Food Safety Agency chose to release these results late last Friday, without the fanfare and spin that accompanied the previous total diet survey, where the agency claimed our food supply was 99 per cent pesticide free. The survey shows that the opposite is true."

Ms Kedgley said she was concerned that the fruit that children commonly ate such as grapes, apples and cucumbers were the most contaminated.

"Small children are at far greater risk of being affected by pesticides because of their sensitive and developing immune and nervous systems.

"It is disturbing to find that the food we are urging children to eat the most of has the highest levels of contamination."

Ms Kedgley said another serious concern was the fact that kiwifruit contained traces of the fungicide vinclozolin - a deregistered product that is known to reduce sperm count, affect the prostate and delay puberty in test animals.

"What on earth are these deregistered pesticides doing in our food supply?" she asked.

"We urgently need a national strategy to reduce pesticide use. Instead of acting like an apologist for the chemical industry, the Food Safety Authority should be taking a lead in reducing the amount of pesticides New Zealand consumers are being exposed to in our food," she said.

© Scoop Media

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