Do farmers spray more nowadays than they used to?
If residues from several crop protection products are found during food inspection, this is generally referred to as multiple residues. If one hears this term, many think that in agriculture unimpeached handling of sprays.
It has to be said that plant protection has changed fundamentally in recent decades. Previously, mainly broadband agents were used, which act against all organisms. Today, pests are targeted and selectively fought, with the funds used are mostly beneficial to the environment. Sometimes the use of several active ingredients is required. By means of residue analysis, residues of these active substances can be detected. Improvements in residue analysis make it possible to determine a much larger number of substances in the lowest concentrations.
Looking at the results of the National Report on Pesticide Residues for 2004, about sixty percent of food products are contaminated with pesticide residues. However, the statutory limit values were only exceeded in around seven percent of the samples.
The use value
For the consumer, the utility value of a food is expressed primarily in price, shelf life and processing. The individual demands of consumers are very different. Basically, however, there is a trend to buy groceries that are as cheap as possible, have a long shelf life and are easy to process.
On average, the German population spends almost 14% of their disposable income on food and drink. In the 1950s it was almost half. This is primarily due to higher incomes and a relatively small rise in food prices.
A study by the Institute of European Food Studies (IEFS) on around 14, 000 adult Western Europeans revealed that for the majority of consumers, low-priced products are the deciding factors for purchasing decisions. In addition, many people do not want to waste time preparing their meals at home.
These requirements are met by so-called convenience food. From the freezer or the can of ready meals are, as the name already expresses, ready assembled, seasoned and are in no time on the table. In recent decades, ready meals have experienced a real boom. They are an indispensable part of German households.
Are ready meals unhealthy?
To say lumpy that these dishes are unhealthy and unbalanced, from a nutritional point of view, is inappropriate, because the range is now very broad and the nutritional quality of the offers therefore very different. Ready meals are available in a wide variety of compositions and processing stages. Low-processed, frozen foods (eg vegetables, fruits, herbs), for example, are a good and time-saving alternative to fresh food in terms of vitamin content and quality.
Preservatives are usually not required for preservation. Highly processed ready meals, on the other hand, usually contain numerous additives. These are usually necessary to achieve certain product attributes (eg taste, shelf life, etc.). However, this does not mean that it is per se to unhealthy diet, because the addition of additives is strictly regulated by law and may only be controlled.
Much more important is the composition of the ready meals. Take a look at the nutritional information per serving: A full meal should be max. 600 to 800 kcal and the fat content max. 40% of the total energy. The main ingredient in ready meals should be vegetables, fruits, pasta, rice or potatoes. Therefore, pay attention to the list of ingredients: the ingredients are listed in descending order of quantity, ie the food that makes up the largest share comes first.