It’s end-of-year, so lists are big, and I’m fond of my Top-5 Records label list.
But some are just dumb, and it’s good to see the science types in New Zealand calling out some BS.
The Dominion Post reports tomorrow that toxicologists have accused a food safety campaigner of a lack of understanding after she advised people to eat organic celery to avoid pesticides.
Alison White has ranked celery at the top of a list of foods likely to contain pesticide residue, but scientists say that does not mean indulging in the vegetable will cause any harm.
Ms White, who is a researcher and co-convenor of the Safe Food Campaign, said consumers wanted information about whether their food contained pesticide residues.
Canterbury University toxicology professor Ian Shaw said Ms White’s table, which she published on the group’s website, displayed "naughtiness" in referencing research about cancer risks among people who sprayed vegetables, not those who ate them.
Ms White’s comments also showed she did not understand the difference between how dangerous a chemical was, and the actual chance or risk of it causing any harm.
The Food Safety Authority’s principal toxicology adviser, John Reeve, dismissed Ms White’s suggestion that pesticide residues could be making our food unsafe.
"Alison White and her colleagues have no expertise in toxicology and don’t understand the science."
Dr Reeve said pesticide limits were determined by how much of a chemical growers needed for it to work.
That limit was hundreds of times lower than the levels that would have any impact on human health, he said.