HC Deb 04 March 2002 vol 381 cc121-2W
Joan Ruddock

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice is given by his Department to pregnant women about reducing their exposure to pesticide residues in food. [36087]

Yvette Cooper

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is advised on the issue of pesticides by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The FSA has provided the following reply in consultation with the Pesticides Safety Directorate (an executive agency of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)).

When considering the approval of a pesticide the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides refers to a large dossier of information and studies carried out on the pesticide. The dossier has information on toxicology of the pesticide, including specific studies to address the reproductive toxicity of the pesticide and crop residues data. Only those pesticides which demonstrate an acceptable risk to all groups of consumers (including pregnant women) can be approved.

The findings from the 2000 pesticide residues monitoring programme indicates that standards are being maintained at levels that the FSA believes provide a high level of consumer protection and confidence.

Thus, the FSA believes it is not necessary to issue specific advice to pregnant women on this issue as the regulatory process fully takes the risks to this consumer group into consideration.