In October 2001 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) asked the ACP to consider whether work since 1997 is sufficient to reassure members that the regulatory process now takes properly into account the issue of variability in residues. FSA also asked whether the 1997 advice from the Chief medical officer that ‘washing fruit before consumption is always a sensible precaution to ensure that it is clean. Peeling fruit is a matter of consumer choice but it is a sensible additional precaution when preparing fruit for small children’ is no longer needed in relation to pesticide residues.
The ACP has considered consumer risk assessments (including acute risk assessments) based on residues monitoring data on fruit and vegetables at meetings in November 2001 and March 2002.
At their March 2002 meeting Members agreed the following statement:
"Washing or peeling fruit and vegetables before consumption is good hygiene. However, it is not required as a protection against pesticides residues. When deciding whether pesticides should be approved for use in the UK, the ACP makes no assumption that fruit or vegetables will be washed or peeled. Moreover, monitoring of fruit and vegetables (both UK produced and imported) indicates that the pesticide residues which occur in these foods are highly unlikely to pose a risk to human health."
Members also stressed the importance of a proactive and speedy review of active substances. They did not identify any active substances that were particular priorities for review, and had the impression that most active substances that might be prioritised were already under review either as a result of UK programme of reviews or the European review programme.