Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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School fruit and vegetable scheme: Autumn term results of Pesticide Residues testing

School fruit and vegetable scheme: Autumn term results of Pesticide Residues testing

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (113/07) issued by The Government News Network on 19 April 2007

Information Bulletin

The latest results from the Pesticide Residues Committee's (PRC) programme of pesticide residue testing in fruit and vegetables supplied to school children found that no samples contained any pesticides above the legal level in the Autumn 2006 term survey.

Tests were carried out on 50 samples of six different fruit and vegetables. 13 samples did not contain any residues that they were analysed for and 37 contained residues within the maximum residue level (MRL). Risk assessments concluded that none of the residues detected were expected to affect the health of children eating the produce.

Dr Ian Brown, chairman of the Committee, said:

"None of the results in the Autumn Term gave the PRC any concern for consumer health. They show that fruit and vegetables supplied to school children does not contain residues or any residues found are at levels in accordance with guidelines.

"The results should reassure parents that the fruit and vegetables their children eat continues to be safe. It is important to stress that the positive effects of eating fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced healthy diet far outweigh any concern about pesticide residues."

The PRC is an independent body which advises Government, the Food Standards Agency and the Pesticides Safety Directorate.

The PRC produce the report of the residue testing programme conducted on fruit and vegetables supplied under the Department of Health's School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme on a termly basis.

The MRL, or maximum residue level, is the maximum concentration of a pesticide residue - expressed as milligrams per kilogram, or parts per million - legally permitted in or on our food and animal feeds. The levels are not safety limits, but are set at levels which protect the consumer. They are primarily a check that good agricultural practice is being followed, and an MRL exceedance does not automatically imply a hazard to health.

The full report is available online at
http://www.pesticides.gov.uk/uploadedfiles/Web_Assets/PRC/SFVSautumn2006report.pdf

Notes for editors
* Dr Ian Brown (OBE, BSc Agric, FRCP, FFOM) is consultant occupational physician and toxicologist at Southampton University Hospitals.

* The Pesticides Safety Directorate are responsible for organising the survey of fruit and vegetables supplied under this scheme. The PRC consider all findings and risk assessments.

* The PRC are an independent body which advises Ministers, the Pesticides Safety Directorate and the Food Standards Agency.

* Fruit and vegetables are sampled from all suppliers contributing to the scheme.

* Find out more about the PRC and its work via its website: http://www.pesticides.gov.uk/prc_home.asp.

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