Oranges are not the safest fruit - they all exceed pesticide limits
Orange peel gives zest to Christmas - spicing up festive fare from mince pies to mulled wine, brandy butter to the pudding itself. But official monitoring, published last week, shows that our seasonal sustenance also contains a hidden peril.
Checks by the Government Pesticides Residues Committee have found that every single orange examined was contaminated by pesticides.
Many of the chemicals found are suspected of causing cancer and "gender-bender effects", about half are banned for use in Britain, and more than a third were found at levels above European or British danger limits.
Two of the pesticides - Carbofuran and Methidathion, banned in Britain - are classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as "highly hazardous".
Carbofuran - which was found at above the EC danger level for infants - is thought to damage the nervous and reproductive systems and may also cause headache, sweating, nausea, diarrhoea, chest pains, blurred vision, anxiety and general muscular weakness.
Methidathion - found to be exceeding the European level for all children under 14 - is suspected of causing cancer, and can also bring on nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pains.
A third banned pesticide, Fenthion, which is classed as "moderately hazardous" by the WHO was found to break EU safety limits for those under 14.
Two suspected gender-benders, Diazinon and Dimethoate, were both found in oranges imported from Egypt at above British legal limits. Dimethoate is also classed as a possible carcinogen.
In all, six suspected carcinogens and six possible gender-benders were found in the oranges. The pesticide thought to be the likeliest to cause cancer, Imazalil, was found in every orange tested but one, and one orange was contaminated by no fewer than seven different pesticides.
The committee - criticised for being too tolerant of pesticide contamination - admits that "the margins of safety have been eroded" on the poisons found at above EU levels, but adds that "there are no expected concerns for consumer safety".
It also says that "no adverse health effects were anticipated" from the pesticides found at levels above British legal limits.
But the Pesticides Action Committee argues the committee reached these conclusions by assuming people do not eat much of the peel, where most of the poisons as concentrated. "Think how much of the peel we use in cooking, particularly at Christmas," it says. "This is one surprise in the Christmas pudding that we can all do without."
Greenpeace comes to the aid of Britain's small fishing vessels
Frilled shark: Australian fishermen capture terrifying shark from the deep
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Nazi super cows: British farmer forced to destroy half his murderous herd of bio-engineered Heck cows after they try to kill staff
Animal Extinction - the greatest threat to mankind
- 1 Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...