THE European Union (EU) has warned
consumers that a large proportion of
fruits and vegetables are contaminated
with pesticides. The problem could be
big enough to warrant checks on imported foods to guarantee their safety,
said officials. In a report published in
November, the EU said that about 40 per
cent of fruits and vegetables contained
pesticide residues and three per cent of
samples exceeded EU limits for contamination. Lettuce was found to have the
highest amounts of residues, followed
by grapes, strawberries, apples and
The findings were drawn from an analysis of over 40,000 samples from all 15 member states. An earlier EU survey indicated that consumers would only tolerate products found to be completely free of contamination. The latest findings are likely to cause concern. European farmers use over 800 different pesticides but only 73 have been given a maximum authorised limit by the EU, which regulates the residue levels of pesticides to minimise exposure to con- sumers. But European consumer affairs commissioner E Bonino said it is time to start checking goods imported from outside the EU.
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