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NZ Food Safety Authority Should Reduce the Spin

Soil & Health Association of New Zealand (Est. 1941)

Publishers of ORGANIC NZ

The Soil & Health Association of NZ is calling on the New Zealand Food Safety Authority to reduce the spin it puts in its pesticide residue results and admit that it is pure good luck to find pesticide and heavy metal residue free food.

Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning said that NZFSA’s statement that 99.99% of results met or bettered residue requirements was misleading, when the majority of the tests were totally irrelevant to the foods tested and were in fact a by catch from a multi residue screen of about 200 compounds, multiplied by about 60 foods in four batches. “Of course most foods do not have anything like 200 pesticides near them and so there are numerous zero detections, but put the other way round, we find that numerous foods have one or more residues.”

The truth is NZ Food Safety Authority’s tests show that most food types have residues in them but the Authority’s view is that it doesn’t matter, even when pesticides are combined, said Mr Browning.

But consumers are concerned, said Mr Browning, and most NGO representatives at the consumers forum hosted by Food Safety recently, were gob smacked when Authority Executive Director, Andrew McKenzie said he would not attend a presentation on the short comings of present pesticide and food additive safety measures. The forum should be an exchange of views, not just an orchestrated sop to New Zealand consumers says Soil & Health.

“It is concerning that Dr McKenzie is so out of step with public opinion and the efforts by government to reduce pesticides.”

Another concern for Soil & Health is the use of composite tests that may mask a serious breach of Food Safety’s own accepted maximum residue levels.

As in Soil & Healths own tests, Food Safety’s survey results are a snap shot and show that on any particular day it is pure luck as to what residues are in most New Zealand foods, said Mr Browning.

“These are indicative tests and the results are consistently not good. It is time we worked together, were open about what is going on, and found better ways of food production.”

Steffan Browning, Co-Chair Soil & Health Association of NZ Inc.

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