In 2004, the Soil Association, the organic food promotion, research and certification body, revealed that government studies on pesticide residues in fruit supplied to school children as part of the Government's School Fruit & Vegetable Scheme showed that 84% of samples were contaminated with at least one pesticide, while some 65% containing multiple residues. Disconcertingly, these levels were higher than those in fruit and vegetables supplied to retailers. Please click here to read full report.

The latest figures released from Government's Pesticide Residues Committee, which analysed almost 3,800 samples of food and drink last year, don't reveal any improvement in the situation. The most recent figures show that an alarming 1.7% of produce was found to contain levels of residues that were above the legal limits. Produce were more likely to be contaminated if they were imported. Oranges were found to be contaminated in all 72 samples tested. Of the produce given to children aged between 4 and 6 in the Government's School Fruit & Vegetable Scheme, as much as 80% of the produce was found to be contaminated with pesticides. Clearly, things are not getting any better – and this should put considerable pressure on consumers to pay a little more for organic produce.