Foods with pesticides safe to eat

Letter to the editor from the president of CropLife Canada in response to a recent column in the Tribune Weekend about organic food.

Editor:

Re: The dirt on organic produce, Williams Lake Tribune, July 27, 2012.

I agree with a recent column in the Williams Lake Tribune that whether the food you eat is grown conventionally or organically, the most important thing is that you get the daily intake that’s recommended by Health Canada. However, the column did contain some misinformation that I would like to correct.

Canada has one of the most modern and stringent pesticide regulatory systems in the world. This means that whether the food you eat is grown conventionally or organically, it is among the safest food available anywhere.

Both organic and conventionally grown foods use an array of pesticides that have all been approved by Health Canada to control threats to their crops. No matter how your food is grown, what you should be more concerned about is how your food was handled before you bought it — bacterial contamination is an actual and significant health threat.

When it comes to pesticide residues on food, recent data from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency shows that about 88 per cent of all fresh food items and 90 per cent of processed food items contain no traces of pesticides at all. And in instances where trace amounts of pesticides are found on food, they are at such low levels it is impossible to imagine a way to eat enough of it for there to be any harmful impact whatsoever.

Consumers can be assured that pesticides receive a greater breadth of scrutiny than any other regulated product in Canada. Health Canada, which is one of the most respected regulatory agencies in the world, undertakes a thorough scientific review and risk assessment of every pesticide before registering it for use to ensure it does not pose a health risk to farmers using the products or to families at the dinner table.

Canadians should feel confident about making healthy food choices knowing that our food supply is both safe and affordable.

Lorne Hepworth

President, CropLife Canada, representing the plant science industry

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