How much pesticide are you eating every day?

Research will help determine residents’ average pesticide intake in Abu Dhabi

18:08 December 27, 2017

Abu Dhabi: A new study will aim to determine the pesticide residue level in five of the most consumed foods in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, with the aim of providing a clearer picture about residents’ pesticide residue intake.

The study will be organised by the emirate’s quality regulator, the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council, as part of its ongoing pesticide management project, the council announced in a statement sent on Wednesday.

As part of the research, five types of produce will be analysed for pesticide residues, including dates, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and marrows. Findings will help indicate the most common pesticides used in the local market, as well as their residual concentration in target crops. The new study into residual pesticide level in foods will be undertaken in collaboration with the emirate’s food sector regulator, the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority.

“This project is part of QCC’s ongoing efforts to adopt the international best practices in pesticide management with the aim of enhancing consumer trust in agricultural and food products. It also aligns with the council’s mandate to ensure the safety and conformity of all products and services in the local market,” said Sultan Al Muhairi, director of information service and engagement at the council.

The study of pesticide use in the emirate was first launched in 2014, with the aim of enhancing public safety and reducing the burden of pesticide-related illnesses and injuries.

Al Muhairi added that the council had earlier issued a technical report on pesticide management, with recommendations to improve existing management practices.

The 2015 report, seen by Gulf News, showed that pesticide misuse across the UAE had resulted in 15 fatalities across the country since 2008, including six deaths in Abu Dhabi. Among these six fatalities, an eight-year-old girl passed away as recently as 2014 because her symptoms were misdiagnosed as resulting from food poisoning. Five other family members were also treated and discharged, and they had all fallen ill because a neighbour had applied an unknown pesticide the previous day.

Since then, a conformity scheme has been introduced in the emirate for workers carrying out pest control. In 2017, federal standards regulator, the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology, also endorsed a technical regulation on the maximum limits of pesticide residues permitted in agricultural and food products.

The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has also long maintained an electronic directory of registered pesticides for the benefit of residents seeking pest control.