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CERES: Fair Food is Safe Food

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on March 6th, 2012

This announcement update released Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 8:00 am. Original released, Sunday, March 4th, 2012

On Sunday morning, an article in The Sunday Age alleged that produce from CERES Organic Farms was contaminated.

CERES Fair Food was established to better connect people with some of Victoria’s best organic producers. Produce sourced by CERES Fair Food comes from certified organic farms, which are subject to strict certification criteria relating to pesticides and other chemicals.

Our members have never been exposed to potential health risks resulting from contaminated produce. A small proportion of our produce is sourced from CERES Harding Street Farm. This site has never even been in question.

The Age article has caused some confusion with the members of CERES Fair Food, regarding the safety of produce grown in the CERES Honey Lane Market Garden and community garden plots.

The facts of the matter are as follows:

In mid-2011 a group of tertiary students conducted some research at CERES Community Environment Park comparing produce irrigated with mains water and with storm water. The students advised CERES they had found some elevated levels of lead in some produce samples collected at CERES.

In response, CERES Community Environment Park withdrew all produce grown at the CERES Honey Lane Market Garden from sale, and commenced laboratory testing of produce as a precautionary measure. The tests revealed normal levels in the CERES Honey Lane Market Garden where produce for sale onsite at CERES is sourced.

The only produce sample that showed results slightly higher than the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code was grown in one community garden plot. CERES informed the community gardeners and facilitated further produce testing in the community gardens.

CERES Community Environment Park also informed Moreland City Council and, with the EPA, they have commenced their own testing of produce. The results from the final series of tests in the community garden plots have yet to be reported to CERES. However, CERES has been verbally advised that the EPA is not classing CERES as a contaminated site and there is no public health risk. CERES is now waiting to receive this advice in writing.

For a full statement issued by the CERES Chairperson Robert Larocca, please click here.

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