Posts Tagged ‘Mild Headache’

Food Pesticide Data

Monday, September 21st, 2009

The latest results on pesticide issues have revealed that Spanish spinach sold by supermarket chain Asda exceeded the safety levels for young children and adults.    The data also showed that although spinach purchased at Safeway and Waitrose stores met with the laid down safety limits, the legal limits were not adhered to.

The PRC (Pesticide Residue Committee) concluded that “safety margins would be significantly eroded” as a result of the level of methomyl, the pesticide found in the spinach sold in Asda. At 150% of the safety level for adults and a staggering 240% of the safety level for toddlers the PRC said that “symptoms such as increased salivation, an upset stomach or a mild headache could occur, but these effects would be expected to be short-lived (lasting not longer than 6 hours)”.

Methomyl, a carbamate pesticide which affects the body’s nervous system is thought to interfere with the hormone system too and Friends of the Earth have put out a warning that a substance carrying such high health risks should be eliminated from our food.

Although the results were favourable as far as milk and blackcurrant juice being completely free of residues are concerned and that UK carrots have now cleared up the past problem of organophosphate residues, Friends of the Earth is still putting out warnings that the cocktail of pesticides in our diet is continuing to place a significant risk on our health and wellbeing.  An example of this is Iprodione.  It is suspected that this chemical found in fruit and vegetables such as melon, dried fruits, carrots, cucumber along with some herbs can be the cause of hormonal disruption.  Nonetheless, the Government continues to look at safety levels by way of individual pesticides in individual produce.

Friends of the Earth is campaigning for retailers to commit to doing away with the sale of food containing such risky pesticides produced in the UK and abroad in the hope of creating a residue free diet for all concerned.   The organisation has asked the Government to apply the same standards of safety to fresh food as processed baby food and to play a more active part in helping the farmers find an alternative to pesticide use.  It has been suggested that money is spent on research and an advisory service set up to help the land workers reduce the current dependence on chemicals.

Sandra Bell, from Friends of the Earth said:

“Although there is some good news in the latest pesticide results, we must remain very concerned that supposedly-healthy food contains pesticides which exceed the safety levels for toddlers. Asda should wake up to the fact that consumers care about safety as well as price and make sure the food they sell is safe for toddlers. Strict new laws for processed infant food should ensure that in future these are clear of residues. But parents should also be able to trust fresh food, especially as fresh fruit and vegetables are so important for a healthy diet”

The Main Findings of the Data

Spinach

A sample of the spinach sold in Asda surpassed the official safety limit of contained residues.

Baby Food

Six samples of Heinz and Boots baby food was found to contain pesticide residues.

Dried Fruit

Almost 75% of dried fruit samples, the majority of which were sultanas contained pesticide residues.

Apples

Thirty nine percent of apples produced in the UK and other countries contained residues.

Carrots

The residue result as far as carrots are concerned has improved over recent years and now only 13% contain residues.  Samples of carrots from the Netherlands on sale in Morrisons contained organophosphates whereas UK carrots were found to be organophosphate free but did contain iprodione, the hormone disrupting chemical.

Imported Cheese

A Canadian cheese available from the shelves of Safeway contained lindane, a pesticide linked to breast cancer and banned within the EU.

Melon

Twenty-six percent of melon samples contained residues.

Celery

Thirty three percent of celery samples contained residues.

Bread

Over 50% of bread samples contained residues of pesticides with sixteen of the samples showing multiple residue results.

Chips

Around 25% of chips contained pesticide residues. Chips bought from two fish and chip shops one in Carlisle, Cumbria and another in Telford, Shropshire were found to contain aldicarb, a kind of carbamate which is hopefully soon to be withdrawn from UK use.