Pesticides in fruits and vegetables, safe for children?

Are fresh or industrial foods safer for children ? The topic was at the center of a discussion that, in recent days, has seen pediatricians divided. The object of the dispute are some recommendations supported by the Italian Federation of Pediatricians (FIMP) with respect to the advantages of specific industrial foods for children.

Even in a brochure of the Medici Pediatricians we read that “50% of fresh fruit contains levels of pesticides unsuitable for infant feeding” and that “35% of wheat in Italy contains residues of pesticides too high for infant feeding” .

The first to question the content of the poster was the Citizen Defense Movement (MDC) which collected reports from some parents and paediatricians and accused the FIMP of launching an aggressive and alarming hidden advertisement . ” According to Silvia Biasotto, of the MDC Food Security Department, the poster questioned “a sacrosanct principle of all food, regardless of who it is intended for or food safety is a prerequisite for all food and that Italy, with all its shortcomings, it has the best prevention and control system along the entire food chain “.

The pediatricians of the Pediatric Cultural Association also think so, dissociating themselves from the recommendations launched by the FIMP, accusing the Federation of speaking as a scientific organ, but of actually being the spokesperson for the industry. According to the ACP, pediatricians should not lend themselves to the game of industrial competition , also because they thus misinform and create confusion in families.

ACP pediatricians reassure parents that, around the sixth month of life, they resort to feedingcomplementary at the request of the child, using the foods they themselves take. The tips for growing your children healthy are simple: breastfeeding in the first months of life and a lot of common sense, a healthy and balanced diet for the whole family, perhaps choosing organic products.

Also because, the ACP recalls, the legislation on pesticidesin force across the EU is among the most rigorous: “a new regulation has been in force since September 2008 amending the provisions for pesticide residues (Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005.). The law indicates the tolerable quantitative limits for everyone’s food safety: adults and children. The European Food Safety Authority verifies that this residue is safe for all categories of consumers, including vulnerable groups such as infants, children and vegetarians. ”

And in this regard, the Ministry of Health also intervened, recalling that the official control of plant protection products, including pesticides in food is one of the health prioritiesmost relevant in the field of food safety. The competent bodies of the Ministry of Health and the Regions carry out constant checks on fruit, vegetables and cereals and the maximum attention and supervision of products intended for children.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, these foods are among the safest in Europe. In fact, only 0.6% of fresh fruit and 0.3% of cereals exceeded the limits set by EU legislation, against a European average of around 3.5% of irregularities. The Ministry of Health also recommends for children, in the context of a balanced and varied diet, the consumption of 5 portions of fruit and vegetablesper day, respecting the common hygiene rule to wash thoroughly and, where possible, peel the vegetables.

Even the Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, Mario Catania, reiterates that “the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables is the best food practice that can be recommended for both adults and children”. “On this assumption – adds the Minister – there has long been a convergence of scientific opinions all over the world and the common sense of Italian families does not depart from this belief. Italian fruit, vegetables and cereals are of excellent quality also by virtue of the production techniques used by our farmers, respectful of the environment and of the health of consumers “

by Abdullah Sam
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