Letter to The Times in response to article on pesticide residues in food

12 April 2024

spraying wheat

There have been a number of newspaper articles regarding a study carried out looking at the levels of pesticide residues in some foods. We have sent this letter to The Times newspaper in response.

To the editor,

The UK has some of the tightest pesticide regulations in the world, which aim to ensure that pesticides are only authorised for use if rigorous assessments show they do not harm human health or have unacceptable effects on the environment.

The data highlighted in your article (Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in supermarket fruit and veg) provides no evidence of any of these residues in food causing harm to consumers and largely relate to foods not grown in the UK. In 2022, the Government’s own sampling programme found that all residues highlighted in the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) data complied with the required trading standards, which are set at levels much more stringent than any safety level.

Pesticides are a vital part of food security in an increasingly volatile climate and form an essential tool for our farmers and growers. Stewardship schemes, voluntary initiatives and Integrated Management Plans for their use have all been developed by the industry and show the responsible attitude of agriculture towards plant health to ensure a supply of safe, affordable food for the people of Britain.

David Exwood, NFU Deputy President