OPINION: A culture of trepidation about consuming foods which have been exposed to pesticides is misleading and has sparked much confusion of late.
The Ministry for Primary Industries released results of the 2016 New Zealand Total Diet Study which tests residues from commonly used agrichemicals -- insecticides, fungicides and herbicides.
This report was on tests of 301 agricultural chemicals -- more than in previous years. All the exposures in the diet were very low and far below levels that would be a food safety risk.
Agcarm chief executive Mark Ross says the levels of agricultural chemicals and contaminants in our diets remain low and most of the latter occur naturally in the environment.
“So the fact they are showing up in our foods is unavoidable,” he says.
MPI sets very conservative limits for residues in food, many times below levels that would be a risk to consumers.
The national study, every five years, covers common foods consumed in a typical diet. It’s used to assess our overall exposure to chemicals and identifies potential food safety risks.
“These results are unsurprising,” says Ross. “Agcarm members work hard to satisfy the stringent requirements set by regulators. They also work with food chain partners to achieve the lowest possible residues in food.
“NZ can uphold its reputation as a producer of healthy and safe food. We must also continue to follow good agricultural practice to meet the ever-increasing consumer demands for safe food.”
The national survey includes common foods consumed in a typical diet. It’s used to assess our overall exposure to chemicals such as agricultural compounds, environmental contaminants and nutrients, and to identify potential food safety risks. It is also used to monitor trends and changes in levels over time.