Australian (ASX) Stock Market Forum

The hidden chemicals in fruit and vegetables

Joined
Jul 11, 2005
Posts
2,633
Reactions
2
From Today Tonight site

THE HIDDEN CHEMICALS IN FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Reporter: Helen Wellings
Broadcast Date: February 19, 2007

Fruit and vegetables should be good for us, full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, but a Today Tonight investigation found they often contain a host of other nasty and dangerous additions.
Most vegetables and fruit are given fertilizers and chemical sprays, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides to protect them from pests, fungus and weeds.
And then they are handled, sometimes washed and packed, before we buy them.
Australian regulatory authorities set strict standards for maximum pesticide residue levels and for pathogens, like the potentially fatal E.coli, which comes from human and animal waste.
But a lot of produce from developing countries like China doesn't have any legal restrictions on levels of pesticides and bacteria.
Today Tonight tested a range of popular fruit and vegetables from major supermarkets, Coles and Woolworths/Safeway and suburban greengrocers in Australian cities.
And we found that many of the chemicals, poisons and dangerous bacteria are still present when we eat these foods.
Our tests revealed frighteningly high levels of E.coli in salads.
The acceptable level is zero coliforms per gram, and the maximum level allowed is less than 10, yet one loose self-serve salad from a greengrocer - with no country of origin label - had 190 coliforms per gram.
Another, from the Woolworths/Safeway Gourmet range, had 800 coliforms per gram - that is 80 times more than the legal limit.
The Australian-grown salad was tested well before its use-by date, and was labelled "washed and ready to eat".
"They should be zero tolerance - no E.coli - and yet the tests showed an enormous amount of bacteria, coming from human waste or animal waste or contaminated by workers," explained food scientist Dr Geoff Skurray.
"It just shouldn't be on. It's a real health risk."
Several deaths and thousands of poisonings linked to pre-packed salads and baby spinach have sparked outrage in the United States.
In South Australia there have been 10 cases of severe E.coli believed to have been caused by imported fruit and vegetables.
Dr Skurray, from the University of Western Sydney, said: "Bacteria can easily get into the product because it has been handled by humans, and they may not have washed their hands.
"But it also can come from where they have grown because there could be sewerage or animal and human waste present as well."
Frances Warnock, from Fresh Produce Watch which helps monitor industry practices, said: "People need to be very careful about the way they handle loose leaf lettuce
"It is important they use good hygiene practices - I don't know anybody who washes their hands before buying those leaves, so they should use the tongs and they should keep their hands out of the product."
Woolworths told Today Tonight their food safety systems are rigorous, with limits of less than 10 coliforms per gram, and that packaged produce with levels of 800 coliforms had never been detected by the company or its suppliers.
While Australia has stringent standards when it comes to growing fruit and vegetables, in other countries, the industry is not so closely monitored.
"We've got health inspectors breathing down every shopkeeper's neck and yet we allow all these other contaminated vegetables into Australia,"
said Dr Skurray.
"We're stricter within Australia, but not strict on the imports."
The news on levels of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides was better - all the samples tested were below the legal maximum residue levels.
The tomatoes, baby corn, mushrooms and snow peas were found to contain no chemicals at all.
However, most of the peaches, mangoes, apples, herbs and some of the salads, we did detect small traces of chemical sprays, including organophosphates.
Eighty per cent of the mangoes we checked had between 10 and 50 per cent of the permitted maximum residue levels of pesticides.
All the peaches and apples tested had traces of chemicals - up to 50 per cent of allowable levels.
And Dr Skurray warns that even tiny traces have the potential to be harmful over time.
"It may be small levels of pesticide in the fruit but added up we will eat a whole lot day after day and accumulated, it could be a real health
risk.
"When they accumulate they not only can cause cancer but they can also cause reproductive problems and neurological problems."
Frances Warnock advises that to get rid of pesticides, all fruit and vegetables should be washed thoroughly in a colander under running water.
I heard this story number of times, that imported stuff doesn’t have to comply with strict Australian rules and many imported products simply don’t have any info that they are.

Quite funny, recently I could not buy Australian grown garlic, all comes from China; I have to accept fact that I might consume more than I want.

With free trade agreement, most probably we will not have any Australian agricultural products at all, on our shelves.

Human waste traces problem must be solved before then.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2006
Posts
381
Reactions
0
Agreed happy. Its pretty unfair for our producers to comply with strict guidelines when imports have no regulation whatsoever. I consequently try to buy organic food, its australian and free of chemicals.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2006
Posts
567
Reactions
5
Not fruit but hows this:

Went for a trip to Tassie over Xmas.

Cold place but great scenary, fresh air and good fishing. Went to the local Jetties a few times and caught Squid and fish.

So, it was to my suprise that when I went to the Launcetson Coles to buy some more Squid to have enough to make up a BBQ that the Squid they were selling was imported from China! I was amazed. Here I was in Tassie, with Fishing a big industry and I had to buy squid from China??? Mind you I refused in disgust.

To Tasmania's credit, the shops at least have to specify where the product comes from. The reality is that Coles and Woolies are probably flogging this stuff off to us all over Australia because they can make an extra 1 cent margin or something. Shame on you Coles (and Woolies if you do this also). Selling Squid from China in Coles the Australian supermarket. Lower quality, not to mention probably old (would surely have been 2 months old by the time it reaches the supermarket for sale and full of preservative) and not promoting local produce from local suppliers.
 

CanOz

Home runs feel good, but base hits pay bills!
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Posts
11,534
Reactions
491
Nicks said:
Not fruit but hows this:

Went for a trip to Tassie over Xmas.

Cold place but great scenary, fresh air and good fishing. Went to the local Jetties a few times and caught Squid and fish.

So, it was to my suprise that when I went to the Launcetson Coles to buy some more Squid to have enough to make up a BBQ that the Squid they were selling was imported from China! I was amazed. Here I was in Tassie, with Fishing a big industry and I had to buy squid from China??? Mind you I refused in disgust.

To Tasmania's credit, the shops at least have to specify where the product comes from. The reality is that Coles and Woolies are probably flogging this stuff off to us all over Australia because they can make an extra 1 cent margin or something. Shame on you Coles (and Woolies if you do this also). Selling Squid from China in Coles the Australian supermarket. Lower quality, not to mention probably old (would surely have been 2 months old by the time it reaches the supermarket for sale and full of preservative) and not promoting local produce from local suppliers.
Think about it, consumers demanding lower prices are the reason the Supermarkets stock the stuff.

They are forcing food producers out of business....no not Coles, or Woolies, YOU, and you and you, whoever buys the non local stuff thats who. Coles would not supply it unless their was demand.

If you want local you pay for it, simple as that. Chinese is cheap as is their labour.

I think we should have a local grocery store, selling local produce.

Thats certainly what the Chinese are doing here. Theres not much imported stuff on the shelves, Trust me!

Cheers,
 

wayneL

Rotaredom
Joined
Jul 9, 2004
Posts
18,744
Reactions
2,558
CanOz said:
Think about it, consumers demanding lower prices are the reason the Supermarkets stock the stuff.

They are forcing food producers out of business....no not Coles, or Woolies, YOU, and you and you, whoever buys the non local stuff thats who. Coles would not supply it unless thier was demand.

If you want local you pay for it, simple as that. Chinese is cheap as is thier labour.

I think we should have a local grocery store, selling local produce.

Thats certainly what the chinese are doing here. Theres not much imported stuff on the shelves, trust me!

Cheers,
Agree!

Pay up for good quality, local food. Organic if possible.

Support your community :)
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2004
Posts
1,035
Reactions
0
CanOz said:
Think about it, consumers demanding lower prices are the reason the Supermarkets stock the stuff.
I'm not so sure...
I think its the other way around...
It's big business profits...
and the sneaky buggers never advertise what is imported and whats local...

If you think about some of the markups placed by woolies and coles.... They are making 1000% on the wholesale price...

Buying imported product allows them to make 1100% markup instead of a 1000%....

I'd be very surprised if they actually pass on the savings to the consumer.

Frankly, I would urge everyone to stop shopping at woollies and coles. The only way they will truly start reducing their margins is when there is geniune competition from farmers markets, local shops...

But then, that is the very people they are trying to drive out of business...
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2005
Posts
2,633
Reactions
2
Possibly another chicken and egg puzzle.

It is possible that consumer caused import.

But isn’t it possible, that as mentioned above the stores imported to pocket bigger chop, still selling cheaper.

Kind of WIN – WIN situation, on the surface.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2006
Posts
567
Reactions
5
CanOz said:
"They are forcing food producers out of business....no not Coles, or Woolies, YOU, and you and you, whoever buys the non local stuff thats who. Coles would not supply it unless thier was demand."
Well based on what I said this can't always be true. I didn't buy the squid because it was from China. I went without instead. If they had local, I would have bought it. I even asked them if they had local instead and then expressed my disappointment.

So I agree with Rafa, it's the supermarkets, not me, me, me and me.

If it was due to me and they wanted the sale, then the squid would have been local. Instead they made nothing as I did not buy it.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2006
Posts
381
Reactions
0
Over here in WA last year there was quite a ruckus made over labeling of imported foods. Coles and Woolworths objected to the any labeling. Why? My guess is there is quite a substantial base of people who would buy australian even if they had to pay extra.
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Posts
11,251
Reactions
6,454
Nicks said:
Not fruit but hows this:

Went for a trip to Tassie over Xmas.

Cold place but great scenary, fresh air and good fishing. Went to the local Jetties a few times and caught Squid and fish.

So, it was to my suprise that when I went to the Launcetson Coles to buy some more Squid to have enough to make up a BBQ that the Squid they were selling was imported from China! I was amazed. Here I was in Tassie, with Fishing a big industry and I had to buy squid from China??? Mind you I refused in disgust.

To Tasmania's credit, the shops at least have to specify where the product comes from. The reality is that Coles and Woolies are probably flogging this stuff off to us all over Australia because they can make an extra 1 cent margin or something.
The origin of food doesn't have to be labelled in the other states? It is here in Tassie and IMO that's a damn good thing to be doing.

There was a big debate about importing New Zealand apples a few years ago. The Tasmanian growers' argument against it was simply that NZ apples are known to carry the fireblight disease which Tassie is free of. Importing those apples would thus threaten the local industry not due to competition but due to disease thus undermining the state's exports which are heavily based on the "disease free" aspect.

Quite often in the shops I notice food being sold not only in terms of the country of origin but also the state when it's Australian grown. Tasmanian this, SA that and Vic something else. A perfectly reasonable system IMO.

All this unnecessary shipping of food around the world is at best a waste of fuel (and therefore greenhouse emissions). At worst we end up with something that isn't fit to eat.

Judging by the way the big fast food companies have dealt with Tasmanian potato growers in recent times I'd say what Coles and Woolworths are doing is lead by them rather than consumers. I don't recall anyone ever saying that McDonald's fries were no good or too expensive because of the Tassie potatoes used to make them. But that didn't stop them wanting to dump local producers in favour of imports which were presumably cheaper.

Meanwhile, I see that Woolworths is selling it's own brand of chips made in the Netherlands. Selling that in Tasmania is about as logical as importing coal into Queensland or selling Vodka to the Russians. But Wollies are doing it - profit being the only possible explanation. :(
 

CanOz

Home runs feel good, but base hits pay bills!
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Posts
11,534
Reactions
491
And who is driving Woolies and Coles towards bigger profits? Who is demanding more revenue and profitable growth?

SHAREHOLDERS.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Posts
9,926
Reactions
1,585
Has anyone thought about the hidden chemicals in humans. There are antibiotics, blood pressure tablets, anticholesterol tablets, vitamins, stimulants, antidepressants, illicit substances , and numerous other additives, all polluting unsuspecting predators such as sharks, crocs, lions, scorpions, and worms.

This will lead to an inevitable knock on effect where our cabbages and brocolli will become unfit for our childrens' consumption, much to their delight.

Could we have a statement on this from our green members.

Garpal
 

wayneL

Rotaredom
Joined
Jul 9, 2004
Posts
18,744
Reactions
2,558
Garpal Gumnut said:
Has anyone thought about the hidden chemicals in humans. There are antibiotics, blood pressure tablets, anticholesterol tablets, vitamins, stimulants, antidepressants, illicit substances , and numerous other additives, all polluting unsuspecting predators such as sharks, crocs, lions, scorpions, and worms.

This will lead to an inevitable knock on effect where our cabbages and brocolli will become unfit for our childrens' consumption, much to their delight.

Could we have a statement on this from our green members.

Garpal
Not even Aspirin in this greenie... not even alcohol now. Safe eating for those sharks, crocs, lions, scorpions, and worms. :D
 

wayneL

Rotaredom
Joined
Jul 9, 2004
Posts
18,744
Reactions
2,558
Garpal Gumnut said:
Has anyone thought about the hidden chemicals in humans. There are antibiotics, blood pressure tablets, anticholesterol tablets, vitamins, stimulants, antidepressants, illicit substances , and numerous other additives, all polluting unsuspecting predators such as sharks, crocs, lions, scorpions, and worms.

This will lead to an inevitable knock on effect where our cabbages and brocolli will become unfit for our childrens' consumption, much to their delight.

Could we have a statement on this from our green members.

Garpal
Interesting though. I used to make leather upholstery and we used to get returns where the colour was stripped out of the leather where the owners' hair and hands contacted.

This took some sleuthing but we eventually determined that in every case the owner was on heart pills. :cautious:
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Posts
9,926
Reactions
1,585
wayneL said:
Interesting though. I used to make leather upholstery and we used to get returns where the colour was stripped out of the leather where the owners' hair and hands contacted.

This took some sleuthing but we eventually determined that in every case the owner was on heart pills. :cautious:
Dear wayneL,

Good on you,

I'll mention it to a pointy headed mate of mine who does research on cardiac medication. You may get your AO or Nobel sooner than you think!!. I'll carry yer bags.

Garpal
 

Julia

In Memoriam
Joined
May 10, 2005
Posts
16,986
Reactions
1,937
Re the original post on this thread, I refuse to be concerned about possibly consuming some micro amount of something nasty.

When I was a child my grandfather was known throughout the district for the wonderful fruit and vegetables he grew. The size, colour and flavour was amazing. That garden consisted of a greater proportion of animal manure than basic dirt.

My parents continued with the same principles but added pesticides as well to control the insects. We all ate richly from the crops.

We have all been healthy and never had any ill effects.

There is, in my view, far too much hysteria about the various possible sources of harm we can come to from whatever source. We have become a risk averse society and want to be kept safe from everything, however, remote the risk might be.

Don't worry so much and just enjoy the wonderful variety of food we have available.

Julia
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2006
Posts
381
Reactions
0
Julia said:
Re the original post on this thread, I refuse to be concerned about possibly consuming some micro amount of something nasty.

When I was a child my grandfather was known throughout the district for the wonderful fruit and vegetables he grew. The size, colour and flavour was amazing. That garden consisted of a greater proportion of animal manure than basic dirt.

My parents continued with the same principles but added pesticides as well to control the insects. We all ate richly from the crops.

We have all been healthy and never had any ill effects.

There is, in my view, far too much hysteria about the various possible sources of harm we can come to from whatever source. We have become a risk averse society and want to be kept safe from everything, however, remote the risk might be.

Don't worry so much and just enjoy the wonderful variety of food we have available.

Julia
That may be true to an extent but its the culminative effect that worry me. My uncle predominantly consumes organic produce from his farm and looks 20 years younger then his real age. Peter Cundall from Gardening Australia is a more public example of a person who consumes organic only produce. Would you believe he is 80. My point is that heavy minerals, pesticides and herbicides can accumulate in the body over time leading to all kinds of health problems later in life (cancer, parkinsons, alzheimers, heart disease). These are problems i could do without even if they won't manifest for 20+ years. Don't forget what dioxins did when they were used as pesticides.
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2004
Posts
1,035
Reactions
0
CanOz said:
And who is driving Woolies and Coles towards bigger profits? Who is demanding more revenue and profitable growth?

SHAREHOLDERS.
I would narrow that down to Fund Managers.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Posts
9,926
Reactions
1,585
Julia said:
Re the original post on this thread, I refuse to be concerned about possibly consuming some micro amount of something nasty.

When I was a child my grandfather was known throughout the district for the wonderful fruit and vegetables he grew. The size, colour and flavour was amazing. That garden consisted of a greater proportion of animal manure than basic dirt.

My parents continued with the same principles but added pesticides as well to control the insects. We all ate richly from the crops.

We have all been healthy and never had any ill effects.

There is, in my view, far too much hysteria about the various possible sources of harm we can come to from whatever source. We have become a risk averse society and want to be kept safe from everything, however, remote the risk might be.

Don't worry so much and just enjoy the wonderful variety of food we have available.

Julia
Dear Julia,


We were sent out to the rural rellies, from the city, in northern summer to feed us up, and to work on the family farm.

Agree totally.

Just thinking about it, I can smell the pigs, cattle, milking cows, chooks, turkeys and the tales of foxes, badgers and other predators.

Garpal
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2006
Posts
3,995
Reactions
316
i think that the first mistake of this thread was, "A study by Today Tonight".
 
Top