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Controversial insecticide found in food tests

9 July 2008

Controversial insecticide found in food tests

The Green Party is concerned that residues of the highly toxic and controversial insecticide Endosulfan have been found in lettuce, strawberries and courgettes sold in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority published the results of its Food Residue Surveillance Programme on its website over night, showing the level of chemical residues found in 108 food items tested.

"Despite the efforts of the NZFSA to downplay the discovery of Endosulfan, these results are a serious concern," Green Party Food Safety spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"Even at very low levels, Endosulfan residues mimic oestrogen and have been linked to breast cancer and effects in the blood cells.

"Endosulfan is banned in more than 50 countries and it is outrageous that we continue to spray this insecticide on our food supply."

"In addition to the risk to New Zealanders' health, the continued use of Endosulfan is putting our vegetable and meat exports at risk," Ms Kedgley said.

"The Environmental Risk Management Authority acknowledged in a recent report that the European Union will not permit onions from New Zealand into their market if they have had Endosulfan used on them. As well, South Korea is currently blocking imports of New Zealand beef because residues of Endosulfan were found," Ms Kedgley says.

"These are important export markets that have been threatened or lost because of our Government's inaction.

"Our authorities should follow the example set by the more than 50 other countries who have placed the health and safety of their people at the forefront and banned the use of this chemical. Instead, they will no doubt turn a blind eye to the results of this survey," Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS


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