‘Do pesticide residues in food pose a significant risk to consumer health

0 Comment

Studies revealed that residues of pesticides remain in the crops for some time that eventually enter the cycle of the food chain. If these chemicals can kill and destroy the pests, they can also pose a potential danger to human beings. A safe level is then studied by researchers to establish the tolerable amount of pesticide residues that can ingested and does not endanger human beings. Incidents from around the globe reveal that human beings suffer from pesticide poisoning or overdose that has adversely affected life and health. This occurred despite stringent regulation by government regulatory agencies. Can pesticide be continuously used so that crops can be grown in abundance and free of disease but still not endanger the life of human beings? Without pesticide, farmers and growers will suffer great losses when pests and diseases attack their farms. But on the consumer end, death and illness can result. A balance has to be made so that both the production and consumer sides can benefit. Pesticides that can be used in plants must be approved by regulating agencies (Food Standards Agency 2004). Introduction Pesticide is a general term that refers to a wide array of products used to decimate pests in the house, agricultural farm, etc. such as insect killers (called insecticides), mould and fungi killers (or fungicides), weedkillers (herbicides), slug pellets (molluscicides), rat and mouse killers (rodenticides), plant growth regulators, and bird and animal repellents (Health and Safety Executive 2009). United States Environmental Protection Agency (2010) included disinfectants and sanitizers (for kitchen or laundry), chemicals used for swimming pools, personal insect repellents, baits and sprays for cockroaches, and powders and sprays for fleas and ticks. There are natural pesticides such as pyrethrums (taken from chrysanthemum plant) and others are modified forms of natural chemicals (Health and Safety Executive 2009). For several decades, pesticides are being used by food growers in order to make the produce look good and abundant (Health and Safety Executive 2009). The chemicals used in regulating the growth of plants (e.g. one that slows down sprouting in potatoes) are likewise classified as pesticides and are regulated (Food Standards Agency 2004). Without using pesticides, the crops can lose their quality (Food Standards Agency 2004) making them not saleable in the market. Pesticide is used primarily for the benefits it can offer. In the farm, it protects the crops from pesky insects, weeds and fungi that cause diseases in plants (Health and Safety Executive 2009). Farm crops grow healthy and protected from diseases by pesticides (Food Standards Agency 2004). It also prevents rats, fungi and insects from contaminating the food while under storage (Health and Safety Executive 2009). In most instances, there are trace amounts of the chemicals used that remain inside or around the produce after harvest or while being stored (Food Standards Agency n.d.). These chemicals are called pesticide residues, and also include traces that result from the breakdown of pesticides (Food Standards Agency n.d.). It is sometimes necessary that a pesticide must stay longer on the crop to effectively protect it (Food Standards Agency n.d.). Exhaustive studies are conducted by regulatory agencies in collaboration with scientific institutions to confirm the report submitted by a company about the pesticide intended to be sold to the public. Upon the grant of approval, the