Food samples pass test


None of the 879 samples of children’s food tested for pesticide residue in a Canadian Food Inspection Agency study exceeded maximum residue limits. 


The Children’s Food Project collected food samples, including cereal, dairy, fruit and vegetable based products that were sold as infant and toddlers food in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.


Seventy-five percent of the food that was tested had no detectable pesticide residue, 14 percent had detectable traces of one pesticide and 11 percent had traces of two or more pesticides. However, none of the samples exceeded Health Canada tolerance standards.


“As the CFP has been carried by the CFIA for multiple years, the results from all of these studies provides confidence that the foods consumed by children of various age groups are compliant with the pesticide residue limits set out by Health Canada,” Guy Gravelle, the CFIA’s senior media relations officer, wrote in an email.


The study detected traces of potentially harmful heavy metal in some of the children’s food, but not at harmful levels, said Gravelle.


“Heavy metals that may pose the greatest inherent risk to human health at low levels include arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury,” said the executive summary of the report. “Consistent with previous years’ results, the highest arsenic levels were observed in rice-based products.”


Concerns over arsenic levels in U. S. rice has prompted lawmakers to introduce a bill that would set limits for the amount of arsenic allowed in rice and rice-based products.


A recent Consumers Report study that examined more than 60 rice-based products in the U.S. found levels of up to 8.7 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per serving, while Food and Drug Administration tests showed average levels of 3.5 to 6.7 micrograms.


It is difficult to discern if these arsenic levels are harmful because few maximum levels or standards have been established for metal in food sold in Canada and the U.S.