More pesticides in school fruit than in shops in the UK
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
A research by the Soil Association reveals that Government testing found over 25 % more pesticides in samples of fruit and vegetables supplied to school children under the official School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme than in samples of the same fruit and vegetables on sale in shops. The Government’s Pesticide Residues Committee (PRC), however, claims that the profiles of school fruit and vegetables appear similar.
Peter Melchett of the Soil Association states that the Association strongly supports the fruit scheme for schools. But it is wrong to source lower quality fruit and vegetables. The Soil Association’s report “Pesticides in school children’s fruit” shows that in 2004 a staggering 84 % of samples contained pesticides. The PRC also tested samples of the same non-organic fruit and vegetables on sale in shops in the same year - 57 % of these contained pesticides.
There was no organic food sampled in schools. But the organic samples from shops were almost completely free (96 %). Pesticides were found in two samples labelled organic - the supplier claimed that it was likely non-organic samples labelled incorrectly.
In the United States, a recent study found that school children receiving organic diets showed significantly reduced exposure to organophosphorus pesticides. By changing to an organic diet, levels of the pesticide metabolites declined dramatically and immediately.
The Association urges the government to re-launch the scheme with a stronger commitment to quality and taste and to increase the use of in-season, UK-grown fruit and vegetables. It also demands to end the artificial standards for blemish-free school fruit and vegetables and to increase the use of organic fruit and vegetables.