Friday, 7 August 2009

Pesticides, nutritious food and the FSA muddle

An open letter from Rob Gibson MSP

The FSA needs to explain pesticide effects to public and a co-convener of Holyrood's Cross Party Group on Food I would urge consumers attending agricultural shows [such as the Black Isle Show at Muir of Ord this week] to tackle the Food Standards Agency which takes a stall there. They should be asked why pesticide residues were excluded from the FSA's recent nutritional study on organic and conventional food when the main reason families buy organic is to protect the environment.

Clearly the Food Standards Agency needs to come clean about the real differences between organic and conventional food production. Their report last week showed no nutritional differences between the two but excluded contaminant content such as herbicide, pesticide and fungicide residues from the desktop review.

Yet new figures revealed in The Herald [3.8.9] show nearly half of conventional food bought by consumers contains significant traces of pesticides. The SNP Government has won wide support for a national food policy based on the natural methods widely practiced in this country. We need no muddying of the waters by the FSA which has given the nod to GM animal feed while undermining confidence in natural food.

Surely the body charged with food safety, the FSA, has to explain how its muddled behaviour affects the aims of Scotland's National Food and Drinks Policy .

The SNP has long fought for modern methods that avoid GM. We also question what effects pesticides have on bees and we find the gloating of commentators over the FSA report a last week a sign that farming methods fit for 21st century consumer knowledge will have to be far more inclusive and environmentally conscious. The NFUS should also address these same issues and accept that consumers are not fooled by the biotech agenda.

Rob Gibson
SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands
4 Grant St.

No comments: