Following a report in timesofmalta.com ('One in every five vegetables contains illegal amounts of pesticide' -
Alternattiva Demokratika reiterates its concern about the lack of accredited public laboratories to test fresh produce.
Alternattiva Demokratika had already expressed its concern more than a year ago. The following are the links to two press statements:
http://www.alternattiva.org/food-safety-no-labs-little-testing-little-action/ and http://www.alternattiva.org/food-safety-priority-zero/.
Ralph Cassar AD spokesperson on energy, transport and industry had said that only a limited amount of samples of fresh produce are sent abroad for testing in accredited laboratories for pesticide residues. The produce will have been already sold and consumed by the time test results are received, as confirmed by the consumer authority's chairperson himself. He said that past attempts to set up a properly resourced and functioning national laboratory have repeatedly failed. Loads of equipment, now obsolete, bought through the Italia-Malta protocol remained in boxes and unused because of lack of staff, with poor pay failing to attract science graduates and technicians and a total lack of interest from government. It seems that the lack of interest in food safety by the Nationalists has been inherited by the present Labour government.
The answer to timesofmalta.com questions about whether Malta had accredited laboratories to test for pesticides have a clear and unequivocal answer: No.
How can a supposedly economically advanced country fail to have properly resourced laboratories in Malta, which will be able to provide timely information to avoid tainted produce getting to market?