Study finds high pesticide levels in school fruit
A study by the Soil Association has found over 25% more pesticides in samples of fruit and vegetables supplied to school children than in those on sale in shops.
The fruit is supplied to children under the official School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme. According to the Soil Association, nearly 30% more instances of multiple pesticides were found in the school fruit and vegetable samples. It says the government’s Pesticides Residue Committee wrongly claims that the pesticide residue profiles appear ‘similar’ to those on fruit and vegetables sold in shops.
Peter Melchett, policy director of the Soil Association, said the Association strongly supported the school fruit scheme.“But it is wrong for a scheme that provides fruit and vegetables to the most vulnerable in society to source lower quality fruit and vegetables. The scheme needs to focus on sourcing high quality produce, wherever possible from the UK, and work towards achieving zero pesticides as quickly as they can.
Responding to the Soil Association’s report, the Department of Health said a monitoring programme had already been set up to test for pesticides in produce supplied to schools.“The results have all been broadly similar to the Pesticide Residues Committee surveys of fruit on general sale in the UK, the DoH said.
“Importantly we have found no residues which would give rise to concern for consumer health generally, and specifically for children’s health.