The latest results from the New Zealand Food Safety Authority’s Total Diet Survey raise concerns about the number of pesticides being found in muesli, says the Pesticide Action Network.
The fourth quarter sampling for the 2009 survey focussed on the most commonly purchased brands of processed foods.
Residues of ten pesticides were found in four samples of muesli. Of these, says PAN, six are on its International List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides for a progressive global phase-out, because of the hazard they pose to human health.
Bran cereal was not far behind the muesli, with a total of eight pesticides.
“Both cancer and endocrine disruption can result from low levels of exposure to pesticides, so when your morning muesli contains a mixture of six pesticides, each of which has these effects, then the effect is magnified, and your breakfast may be posing an unhealthy risk to you” said Dr Meriel Watts of PAN Aotearoa New Zealand.
“Yet once again, the Food Safety Authority is downplaying the findings. Still slavishly adhering to an outdated process of simply checking that each residue is below the legal level, they refuse to look at the reality of the situation that consumers face: daily exposure to low dose mixtures of chemicals, each of which by itself is known to cause cancer and/or endocrine or hormonal disruption, but which when added together may dramatically increase the risk,” said Dr Watts.
“The Authority needs to take on board a recent massive EU report which concluded regulatory authorities needed to consider mixtures.
“Consumers deserve to know who the bad offenders are and which products are the best. For example one wine brand of four, including both white and red wines, stood out as having no pesticide residues. That producer, as with the raisin/sultana sample, deserves consumer recognition. From earlier surveys, we know that consumers are best to buy organic.”