Food Pesticides and Science

Pesticide Residue

The UK is probably 5-10 years behind the USA in terms of recording data regarding the amounts and types of pesticide residue found in our food supply. The following statement was made in the 2009 report, published in June 2010:

UK Government Studies into pesticide residue

This quarter’s programme (3rd quater 2009) surveyed 1415 samples of 29 different foods for pesticide residue: apples, aubergines, avocados, bananas, beans with pods, beetroot, bread, Brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, eggs, grapefruit, grapes, lamb, lemons, lettuces, melons, milk, pasta, pate, pears, peas, peppers, potatoes, processed potatoes, radishes, speciality vegetables, wheat and white fish. The results show 8 samples contained pesticide residue above the maximum permitted levels.

The objectives of the pesticide residue work are described are:

The programme ensures all the major components of our national diet are sampled (milk, bread, potatoes, fruit and vegetables, cereals and related products, and animal products). The programme is not designed to provide a representation of pesticide residue (s) in our diet – it is carefully targeted and looks more at those commodities likely to contain residues. Some commodities are surveyed every year, whilst others are surveyed less frequently, for example once every three years; this is what we call the rolling programme.

The questions regarding the pesticide residue studies that come to mind are these:

  1. What basis is used to establish the maximum permitted levels of individual pesticide residue?
  2. Why were the 8 samples above the maximum levels for pesticide residue?
  3. The programme doesn’t seek to determine the overall level of pesticide residue in our diets. More importantly I wonder if there is anything being done to look at the total pesticide residue loading on our bodies and what the likely interactions are between these many different pesticides?

This video from TED.com is well worth watching for several reasons. Firstly it shows what data is available if only we knew where and how to look for it. Secondly our health choices need to consider the local environment over and above our health. Lastly if this information is recorded by our government then don’t we have a right to see the data?

A few years ago the Institute of Chemical Engineering published some research which showed that while the levels of individual chemicals in the environment that mimicked the effect of oestrogen (xenoestrogens) were all below the maximum safe levels there was a hitherto unexpected additive effect. The individually low level of each individual chemical unfortunately combined with others and produced an effect that was many times over the ‘safe’ levels.

pesticide residue bees ecohip.co.ukI keep hearing about the decline in the bee population and doomesday predictions for the food supply – could this be down to pesticide residue?

Is the same thing happening with pesticide residue as is happening with xenoestrogens and if so who is studying it? What do you think? We’d like to know so that we can begin to form an action programme to get the situation changed.

By the way this table is from the USA research into the ‘cleanest’ fruit and vegetables – because we don’t have data for the UK.

  1. Onions
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  4. Pineapples
  5. Mango (Subtropical and Tropical)
  6. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwi Fruit (Subtropical and Tropical)
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe (Domestic)
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet Potatoes
  15. Honeydew Melon
  16. Plums (Domestic)
  17. Cranberries
  18. Winter Squash
  19. Broccoli
  20. Bananas
  21. Tomatoes
  22. Cauliflower
  23. Cucumbers (Domestic)
  24. Cantaloupe (Imported)
  25. Grapes (Domestic)
  26. Oranges
  27. Red Raspberries
  28. Hot Peppers
  29. Green Beans (Imported)
  30. Cucumbers (Imported)
  31. Summer Squash
  32. Plums (Imported)
  33. Pears
  34. Green Beans (Domestic)
  35. Carrots
  36. Blueberries (Imported)
  37. Lettuce
  38. Grapes (Imported)
  39. Potatoes
  40. Kale / Collard Greens
  41. Cherries
  42. Spinach
  43. Sweet Bell Peppers
  44. Nectarines
  45. Blueberries (Domestic)
  46. Apples
  47. Strawberries
  48. Peaches
  49. Celery

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So when you make your choices about what food to eat ask yourself this question. What are the pesticide residue levels in the individual ingredients and in the whole meal.

Author: Steven Chasen

Here at Eco Hip we have a simple philosophyTo offer you the best natural products around, so that you can maintain a chemical-free home, body and spirit.For 15 years we have been striving to give people the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from this lifestyle, using our knowledge and experience to guide you through the process from start to finish. We believe that there is a complete synergy between what is best for you and what is best for the environment.Do you ever stop and think about what goes into the products that we use on a daily basis?Did you know that everyday products such as toiletries and cosmetics are filled with harmful petro-chemicals, parabens, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), DEAs, MEAs, TEAs, artificial colours, fragrances and fillers. The list goes on…Why aren’t there stricter regulations concerning these products?Are the waste products of industry being dumped and sold in our personal care and cleaning products?Who is stopping this and telling it how it is?We feel that we have a responsibility to both our customers and to the world around us to ask ourselves these questions every day. That is why we only sell the most responsible and sustainable products.Responsibility to ourselves – All our products are free of toxic chemicals wherever possible and endorsed by Ecocert and the Soil Association.Responsibility to others – We promote Fairtrade produce to stop exploitation and benefit those communities.Responsibility to local communities – We use local suppliers and products wherever possible in order to support the local economy and reduce our carbon footprintResponsibility to the environment – All our products use minimal packaging and recyclable materials. Responsibility to the future – We use sustainable materials and ingredients wherever possible.Responsibility to animals – We do not use any products that have animal ingredients or are tested on animals. Our products are certified as cruelty-free and are endorsed by BUAV and PETA.There doesn’t have to be a trade off between affordability and healthy living either. The choices we make now will impact our future, and we want to ensure that the investments you make now will save you money in the long-term.Sustainability doesn’t just have to connote the environment, but your own household too.In the age of information overload that we live in, we know that shopping online can sometimes be overwhelming, so we carefully source our products, selecting only the highest quality ingredients and most innovative designs, so that you don’t have to.Ecohip is more than just another online shopping website. The Ecohip mindset is all about challenging conventional thinking and finding a new way of looking at the world, believing that smalls steps can gradually add up to make a big difference.

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