Food Safety

All approved pesticides are subject to strict conditions of use - including the timing and rate of application - to ensure food products do not contain potentially harmful levels of residue.


For each pesticide, a Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) is specified, usually expressed in terms of less than one part per million. An extensive programme of monitoring is conducted by an expert Government advisory committee to measure pesticide residues in food.


Together these controls ensure that if residues do occur, they pose no safety issues. In fact, over 70% of food products consumed in the UK contain no residues at all. And where they do occur, scientists and health experts overwhelmingly agree that the mere presence of residues in food does not mean they are harmful.


US research has shown that every day an average man would have to eat more than 150,000 servings of carrots, 15,000 servings of lettuce, or 2,500 helpings of strawberries - all containing pesticide residues at the maximum limits permitted - before reaching potentially harmful levels.


The Government's advisory committee on pesticide residues advises that the positive effects of eating fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced, healthy diet are well proven and far outweigh any concern about pesticide residues.


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