A few weeks ago, the Food Standards Agency announced it was no longer necessary to wash fruit and vegetables in order to remove pesticides when preparing them for small children.

The Pesticide Residues Committee, however, has stated that at least 30 per cent of our food and almost half our fruit and vegetables is contaminated with pesticide residues.

Some contain more than one chemical and a few are above the Government's maximum safety limits.

We are assured that minute levels of pesticides present no health risk to consumers.

But routine monitoring programmes for pesticides only test for a small selection of produce at any one time and there is always the possibility that a few high-dose batches may slip through the net.

Many people are also concerned about long-term low doses and the cumulative effects of all the residues put together.

Is it not sensible to play safe and thoroughly clean our produce until certain that all toxic chemicals have been phased out?

If you are feeling confused, take part in the following fun exercise and decide which point of view best suits your present mood:

Lazy Wasing and peeling fruit and vegetables requires far too much effort. One can't expect a child (or adult) to wash and dry an apple.

The poor things will be put off eating another one for life. It is much better to tell them they don't need to.

Depressed The amounts of pesticides in fruit and vegetables are probably so high, there is no point in worrying about a few more traces here or there.

It doesn't matter anyway as we are all doomed and the world will be coming to an Overanxious If people worry about pesticide residues in ordinary produce, they might start to buy organic food containing more nutrients and cancer-fighting anti-oxidants.

Huge fruit and vegetable mountains will start to accumulate and being so genetically modified and full of preservatives, these will refuse to rot and start taking over the planet.

Imagine being chased by giant, green cauliflowers or flattened by a mutant sweet potato on your way to work.

In denial What pesticides? It will never be possible to prove the multiple combinations of chemicals introduced into air, water and food are doing us any harm at all.

The human detoxification system is perfectly able to get rid of them providing it said chemicals and the lack of nutrients in modern food.

Sensible Scrub all fresh fruit and vegetables thoroughly under running water to help remove traces of chemicals and any dirt and bacteria.

Discard outer leaves of leafy vegetables and eat variety of foods from different sources to reduce exposure to any single pesticide.

Water alone is unlikely to remove oil-based residues but don't use household soaps which may remain on the surface or penetrate the skin of the produce.

Use a veggiwash from health-food store instead.

Happy scrubbing.