It is important to highlight some facts that Tom Rawstorne presented as claims in his “special report” into the use of pesticides (‘Alarming chemical cocktail sprayed on your fruit and veg’, December 11, p28-29).
Mr Rawstorne paints an alarmist view of the use of active ingredients which appears to fly in the face of facts, which are:
- the overall amount of pesticides used on British produce has halved since 1990;
- the latest annual report by the independent Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food showed the majority of UK-produced food contained no pesticide residues at all; and
- the produce sold on supermarket shelves is perfectly safe to eat.
The UK has one of the most robust pesticide regulatory and monitoring systems in the world, controlling how pesticides are used and the levels of residues in food.
Far from keeping it quiet, as Mr Rawstorne suggests, all of the information about what farmers use on their crops and in what quantities is regularly independently audited to ensure products are being used safely and correctly. As we explained to Mr Rawstorne, the NFU is a trade association and, as such, does not have access to its members’ sprayer records. But by law farmers have to record everything they use and it has to be available for inspection by Government and is also independently checked through assurance.
According to the Food Standards Agency – the independent Government agency that oversees food safety – the best available science shows it is safe to consume food with pesticide residues at or below safety limits. People can rest assured that the great British food they buy is produced to some of the highest standards in the world and is perfectly safe to eat.
Guy Smith, NFU Vice President