Winter vomiting bug claim rejected

Dutch research suggesting that the winter vomiting bug can be spread through pesticides applied to fresh produce has been rejected by UK grower representatives.

The study, published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology and reported on in The Times, claimed that contaminated water used to reconstitute pesticides could transmit human norovirus.

"The application of pesticides may not only be a chemical hazard but a microbiological hazard for public health," the team wrote.

But British Summer Fruits director and Berry Gardens managing director Nicholas Marston said: "The study does not identify any risks in real-life situations and makes bold assertions about human norovirus based on laboratory results with mouse norovirus and contaminated water and out-of-date reference information.

"Pesticide and water use are carefully managed by legislation and through our high assurance standards. Water is also tested before being used to apply pesticides to crops and for irrigation."

NFU horticultural adviser Chris Hartfield described The Times article as "irresponsible" and said it "misrepresented the findings of a single scientific study, which in itself makes assumptions".


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