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What You Need to Know About Pesticides in Food

What You Need to Know About Pesticides in Food

To ensure that crops survive attacks from pests when growing, farmers use pesticides. These chemicals usually attack pests and keep them from destroying produce to ensure enough food supply levels. Over the years various studies have been undertaken to ascertain the effects of pesticides on human beings. Additionally, studies have also been undertaken to gauge how much influence the level of pesticides in food have over buying decisions made by consumers. It is worth noting that an increasing number of consumers are considering the level of pesticides in food before making purchases.

Below we have put together an informative guide on the common pesticides in food, and how their use is regulated by food safety authorities.

Types
Different food producers use various types of pesticides to protect their produce against destructive pests. The two main pesticides in food are synthetic and natural. Due to their composition, they have different characteristics and effects on humans and the environment as well.

Synthetic
Synthetic pesticides are made up of artificial chemicals. These pesticides are used on conventionally grown produce. Although they are effective in protecting produce against pests, synthetic pesticides in food are associated with negative health effects on humans. This is because the body is mostly unable to breakdown the synthetic components. Some of these pesticides also take longer to the breakdown in the environment and may have pollutant effects.

Natural
Natural pesticides, on the other hand, are made up of naturally occurring compounds. They are mainly used by organic farmers. Since they are naturally occurring, natural pesticides in food products easily break down after use and pose minimal negative effects on the environment. They are also deemed to a lower risk of negative effects on humans.

It is worth noting that organic produce grown next to a farm using synthetic pesticides may have traces of the same as a result of environmental drifts.

Regulation
Environmental protection and consumer protection authorities and agencies have been involved in crafting regulations meant to identify and eliminate the use of harmful pesticides in food. This is done in two ways as described below.

Review of Licensed Pesticides
Over the years, food safety agencies have been tasked with reviewing the use of all known pesticides in food production by the latest regulations and provisions. This has led to the banning of a number of popularly used pesticides that have been found to have harmful effects on humans over time.

Testing and Licensing New Pesticides
It is also upon these food protection agencies, both national and international, to license the use of new pesticides in food. To be licensed, all new pesticides must satisfy the available safety regulations and guidelines. 
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