§ Mr. Fisher
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has on the number of instances of fruit and vegetables polluted by pesticides in each of the past 10 years.792W
§ Mr. Ryder
As part of the Government's controls on pesticides, samples of a range of foods and agricultural products are monitored for pesticide residues. The results of this monitoring are published periodically in the reports of the working party on pesticide residues. Copies of the reports covering the period 1977 to mid-1985 (food surveillance papers 9 and 16) are available from HMSO. A third report covering the period 1985 to 1988 will be published shortly.
Analytical methods for detecting pesticides are extremely sensitive and small traces can be identified. Such residues as are found in food in the United Kingdom are, in virtually all instances, well below internationally agreed maximum limits, which are themselves designed to incorporate a large margin of safety.