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No Pesticides in Baby Food Petition to Parliament

No Pesticides in Baby Food Petition to Parliament

Safe Food Campaign media release 28 May 2014

A 4,200 signature petition will be handed to Green MP Mojo Mathers at Parliament tomorrow , calling for a ban on pesticides in baby food, after analysis showed New Zealand baby food contains pesticides that are hazardous for young children and babies in the womb.

"We are asking Parliament to regulate for zero tolerance of pesticides in baby food,” said Alison White, Co-Convenor of the Safe Food Campaign, which will present the petition.

“Three of the pesticides found in New Zealand baby food are hazardous for young children and babies in the womb.

"New Zealand baby food contains far greater pesticide residues than in Europe, which operates a zero tolerance policy.

“Kiwi babies deserve the same level of protection as they have in the EU.”

Analysis of a government study shows more than 30% of New Zealand baby food contains pesticide residues. (http://www.safefood.org.nz/babypesticide.php)

Five pesticides were detected in 32 baby food samples of the last Total Diet Survey, which included testing of formula, cereal based, custard/fruit and savoury weaning foods.

"Some of the pesticides found are carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, for which no safe level has been scientifically established, and doses thousands of times lower than those generally considered toxic are known to interfere with normal human development,” said Ms White.

"I do not want to have my children, or indeed any children, exposed to questionable and unnecessary pesticides," said Dr Heli Matilainen, mother of three, scientist and technical organic expert.

“Children have unique windows of vulnerability which adults do not have. Extremely low doses which may not have an immediate effect on adults can critically interfere with children's ongoing developmental processes. This may result in lifelong alterations in growth and development, organ formation, as well as disease occurrence. I trust no parent would knowingly choose that to happen."

The Safe Food Campaign also thinks the government should do a more extensive analysis of baby food than has been the case up to now and carry out a pesticide reduction programme.

"This would help to ensure that fewer pesticides are detected in baby food and would also bring New Zealand into line with other OECD countries, which already have pesticide reduction programmes," said Ms White.

WHAT: 4,200 signature petition being handed to Parliament calling for banning of pesticides in baby food.

WHERE: Parliament Forecourt by Dick Seddon statue

WHEN: Thursday 29 May 11am-12pm

WHO: Safe Food Campaign, Green Party Food Safety spokesperson Mojo Mathers MP

ENDS

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