The Europe wide monitoring programme of pesticides in food found that 97.4% of over 81,000 samples were within the maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides permitted in the EU.

Nick von Westenholz, CEO of the Crop Protection Association (CPA) said:
“The findings of EFSA represent good news for consumers, farmers and for the Crop Protection Industry. We are fortunate in the UK to have highly skilled operators committed to the responsible use of pesticides and this contributes to the high levels of food safety that we enjoy in the UK.

“Pesticides are the most heavily regulated products in Europe, it currently takes around ten years, costing £150m, to bring an active ingredient to market. This regulatory process, involving rigorous scrutiny by independent scientific experts, coupled with high standards of stewardship promoted by the Voluntary Initiative (VI), ensures plant protection products are safe for consumers, for the people who use them and for the environment.

“Our industry will continue to strive to improve standards through schemes such as the VI. Over half of the food tested contained no residues at all and even for the very small amount of samples found to have exceeded the legal limits, consumers should rest assured that the presence of residues are unlikely to have any long-term effect on consumer health.

“Pesticides play a key role in helping farmers produce high-quality, healthy and affordable food. Regular monitoring studies such as this are crucial in reassuring consumers that they can trust farmers and have confidence in the safety of their produce.”