Pesticides in baby food: New Zealand Government decides current status OK.

Sent to New Zealand Herald. Unpublished.  22.06.2015

The decision of the New Zealand government Primary Production Select Committee report, to not implement a zero pesticides policy in baby food, a restriction which applies to European baby food (1) should be greeted with dismay by families.

As should the decision not to increase pesticides residue surveillance, also recommended by the Safe Food Campaign.

But Kiwis don’t know this, as mainstream media did not think these decisions were worth reporting.

These decisions directly impact families. Many pesticides cause cancer, endocrine disruption and impact gut health. They contribute to the tipping point that sends many New Zealanders into the chronic disease crisis we witness today. Yet this message is blanked out.

The New Zealand EPA approves use of pesticides like Roundup on human and animal food using studies only supplied by the same corporations that sell the pesticides to prove safety. Pesticide use on food has escalated in the last decade.

The Safe Food Campaign reported in their (ignored) press release ‘Pesticides were found in over 30% of baby food samples in the last Total Diet Survey in 2009. Ms White contrasted this to the EU: “New Zealand baby food had 533% more pesticide residues. The EU had an average of less than 6% of baby food samples positive for pesticide residues over 6 years.”

Studies that give us our pesticides ADI –acceptable daily intake – are carefully selected by pesticides corporations. They’re ancient, unpublished and unavailable for review by health specialists. Monsanto’s 1981 Lankas study gives us NZ’s ADI, with tumours at the same levels the corporate paid toxicologists declared safe.

Our EPA is yet to consider the WHO/IARC condemnation of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.

Testing does not include testing for Roundup. Twenty years ago, Roundup was only applied to soil rather than directly applied to staple foodstuffs.  New Zealand does not test for this most heavily used pesticide in our National Dietary Survey, Groundwater Survey or Chemical Contaminants Program. Risk assessment failure 101.

The system is broken. We need more testing. More research.

No pesticide corporation will fund research assessing gut health of mammals consuming fungicides, herbicides and insecticides. Nor will the food industry.

Where is funding to assess benefits of an organic diet versus families on a conventional food diet – to help understand how sickness and disease may be related to dietary chemical loads? We need financially independent science to understand this.

Many people try to eat organic or sprayfree. But the poorest can’t afford this. Conventional food must be safe. 

We have a situation where government has permitted increased levels of Roundup on our food, but advise consumers they cannot afford to test for Roundup.

Let’s acknowledge that the NZ EPA does not have resources to independently assess all chemicals in food, and that every pesticide approval is based only on the studies carefully selected by the corporation seeking to sell that chemical. Let’s understand that chronic disease is out of control, our children are sicker than ever, and depression is escalating. 

Do you think we should allow pesticides in baby food?



(1) COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 2006/141/EC of 22 December 2006 on infant formulae and follow-on formulae and amending Directive 1999/21/EC.

Article 10
1.   Infant formulae and follow-on formulae shall not contain residues of individual pesticides at levels exceeding 0,01 mg/kg of the product as proposed ready for consumption or as reconstituted according to the instructions of the manufacturer.