Sunday, September 2, 2007

Pesticides in school fruit


FRUIT and veg given to thousands of school children contains 27 per cent MORE pesticides than shop-sold produce, a study reveals.

Nearly 170 samples supplied under the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme were tested by Government food scientists.

At least one pesticide was found in 84 per cent. And 65 per cent showed traces of more than one.The scientists from the Pesticide Residues Committee also tested 882 samples of the same non-organic fruit and vegetables on sale in shops in 2004.

Just over half — 57 per cent — contained pesticides, while 36 per cent had multiple traces.The figures were released in a new report by campaign group the Soil Association.

Policy director Peter Melchett said: “We strongly support the school fruit scheme.

“But it is wrong for a scheme that provides produce to the most vulnerable in society to source lower quality fruit and vegetables.“These contain a higher proportion of pesticides, and pesticide cocktails, than the fruit and vegetables available in shops.”

He added: “It is vital that children eat more fruit and vegetables.“To encourage this the school fruit scheme needs to focus on sourcing high-quality produce, wherever possible from the UK. We need zero pesticides.”

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