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Pesticide Residues

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 1 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 28 March., Official Report, column 476–7W, on pesticide residues, how many tests were carried out on (a) British foods and (b) imported foods; what proportion of samples were found to have residues of banned substances; and what proportion of samples were found to have excessive residues of (i) pesticides, (ii) fertilisers, (iii) fungicides and (iv) other synthetic crop enhancers. [108927]

During the seven year period in question (1995–2002) the total number of samples analysed for pesticide residues totalled around 24,000, of which around 14,000 were of UK origin and 10,000 were imported. Only 26 residues were found of the withdrawn substances listed in the reply of 11 March. 8 samples were of UK origin and 18 were imported. The proportion of samples containing residues of withdrawn substances were therefore 0.06 per cent. UK and 0.18 per cent. imported.Over this period the proportion of samples with pesticide residues exceeding the maximum residue level averaged 1 per cent. The most recently published data for 2001 indicate that this was based on 1 per cent. of imported samples and 0.5 per cent. of UK origin samples exceeding these levels. These figures relate to all pesticides including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and plant growth regulators. Detailed analysis of these figures by pesticide type and by year could only be provided at disproportionate cost.Residues of nitrates and other fertilisers, which may leave residues in crops, areissues for the (FSA) Food Standards Agency.