Safe Food Campaign media release 14 June 2004
Watch out for those raisins!
15 pesticides found
Raisins could contain up to 15 different pesticides, an analysis by the Safe Food Campaign of the latest results from the Total Diet Survey reveals. Four samples of raisins and sultanas were analysed for pesticide residues as part of the second quarter results published by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority which looked at 63 national foods.
"This, you may think, is bad enough. But we are perhaps even more concerned that two pesticides were found in four samples of cereal-based infant weaning food. One of these, the fungicide iprodione, is a suspect 'gender-bender' or hormone disruptor and also a carcinogen. Recent research questions whether any safe level can be established for endocrine disruptors, especially when we consider young children and babies in the womb", maintains Ms White, Co-convenor of the Safe Food Campaign.
"While the average level so far found of iprodione has come down by about a third since the last Total Diet Survey in 1998, there is certainly no room for complacency. The low sample numbers could have distorted the results, so we don't know for sure", Ms White commented. Highest levels of iprodione were found in canned apricots, bananas and apple-based juice. At least 20 other pesticides detected are known or suspect 'gender-benders'.
Other national foods with high numbers of pesticides detected in them included muesli with 11 pesticides, bran flake cereal with 10 pesticides and canned apricots with six pesticides.
The Safe Food Campaign is calling on the Government to do more to support New Zealand farmers and growers in finding alternatives to risky chemical pesticides and to eliminate pesticide residues in food as quickly as possible. Ms White counsels pregnant women and mothers with young children especially to seek out organic food.
For more information phone Alison White, Co-convenor Safe Food Campaign, (04) 476 8607 or (021) 1699 120.