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The Myth of Safe Fruit and Vegetables

28.04.2006, PAN Germany Presse-Information

Pesticide maximum residue levels still put children at risk.

About one year ago consumer association and environmental groups all over Europe celebrated a victory. Since March 2005 the regulation on the harmonisation of pesticide residues levels in food (EU-Regulation 396/2005) requires special protection of children and the unborn. However, a newly published PAN Germany Briefing "The Myth of Safe Fruit and Vegetables" reveals a number of open questions and clearly shows that today many maximum residue levels put children at risk. PAN Germany calculated 60 unsafe maximum residue levels in 13 major commodities such as apples, pears, grapes and strawberries. The Problem: these 60 maximum residue levels are ALREADY harmonised.

There are more open questions and even national authorities have no answers to them:

1. Whose consumption pattern should be the basis for setting new maximum residues levels? People eat differently! Children in Great Britain for example eat many apples, and Germany kids love sweet peppers.
2. According to the regulation international standards must be respected, but these may conflict with other goals. How will the Commission deal with existing international pesticide residue standards, which do not respect the vulnerability of children?

PAN Germany toxics expert Susanne Smolka: "From our point of view, the responsible authorities should start a rapid and consequent re-evaluation of all existing Community MRLs - taking into consideration the vulnerability of certain groups, especially children and the unborn, and the variability of the different consumption patterns throughout the EU-25-States".

The 12 page Briefing "The Myth of Safe Fruit and Vegetables" can be downloaded at
or at our new pesticide residue website: http://www.pesticide-residues.org/downloads.html.

Further Information:
Susanne Smolka, Tel. 040-399 19 10-24, susanne.smolka@pan-germany.org

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