HC Deb 11 January 2000 vol 342 cc157-8W
Mr. Andrew George

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the application of public health regulations to imports of chlormequat-sprayed pears into the UK. [103294]

Ms Quin

The Pesticides (Maximum Residue Levels in Crops, Food and Feeding Stuffs) (Amendment) Regulations 1997 set a maximum residue level (MRL) from chlormequat in pears of 3.0 Mg/Kg. The MRL originates from an EC Directive. The general provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990 also apply.

Earlier from this year, the Government's routine monitoring programme for pesticide residues in food showed that some imported pears contained residues of chlormequat substantially above MRL. We immediately contacted the authorities in the importing countries and received assurances that they had put measures in place to ensure that future exports complied with MRL. This included a ban on the use of chlormequat in pears grown in Belgium and severe restrictions on its use in the Netherlands. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will not hesitate to take further action if necessary.