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    Media release Safe Food Campaign 28 May 2015

    PESTICIDES TO STAY IN BABY FOOD

    Pesticides are to stay in baby food, in spite of a petition presented to parliament. The Primary Production Committee decided today not to act on the Safe Food Campaign petition asking for zero tolerance for pesticide residues in baby food, even though such directives are currently in place in the European Union.

    The Committee acknowledged the public interest to New Zealanders and the concern felt about toxins in food, especially for parents of new-borns and young children. However they did not call for a more extensive baby food residue surveillance programme, as suggested by the Safe Food Campaign.

    "Every five to six years a mere eight samples of four different kinds of baby food are analysed for pesticide residues," said Alison White, Co-convenor of the Safe Food Campaign, "and this is absolutely inadequate."

    Pesticides were found in over 30% of baby food samples in the last Total Diet Survey in 2009. Ms White contrasted this to the EU: "New Zealand baby food had 533% more pesticide residues. The EU had an average of less than 6% of baby food samples positive for pesticide residues over 6 years."

    "We want to make parents more aware of the dangers that certain pesticide residues pose to babies and young children," Ms White stated. "To this end, we are running a campaign the week of the 15 June to protect our children from toxic pesticides here in New Zealand, following the pesticide awareness campaign of Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific. More details will be available on our website."

    "Certain pesticides, including some detected in New Zealand baby food, have been found to be linked to cancer progression and endocrine or hormonal disruption," said Dr Heli Matilainen of the Safe Food Campaign.

    "Children, due to their actively developing bodies, have unique windows of vulnerability which adults do not have. This means that it is not the dose which is critical, but the timing of exposure, because doses thousands of times lower than those normally considered toxic may interfere with children's development," explained Dr Matilainen.

    "I am sure I am talking on behalf of every parent in New Zealand," concluded Ms White, "when I urge the government to step up and protect our babies from dangerous pesticides that are currently present in baby food."

    he Safe Food Campaign is a nationwide organisation that gives consumers information about food so when they buy food they can make a more informed choice.

    ENDS

    Enquiries: Alison White, (04) 476 8607, (021) 169 9120 alison@safefood.org.nz
    Heli Matilainen, PhD, 04 384 5358


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