The Case of Sydney’s Tainted Food Scandal: Background and Consequences

Frances Parker, University of Western Sydney


Farmers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are of major economic and social importance in the Sydney basin, producing 90% of Sydney’s perishable vegetables. Although most are unable to read English, all technical information, including that for pesticide use, is only available in English. Despite many attempts to influence policy, such as through the formation of the NSW Premier’s Taskforce on market gardening by people of Non-English Speaking Backgrounds, there is still no accessible information on pesticide use. This paper describes the role of the media in highlighting the issue from two perspectives; that of the farmers’ right to know about hazardous substances, and the community’s right to know that there is only very limited pesticide residue monitoring of vegetables.

Frances Parker is Associate Professor at the University of Western Sydney, Richmond campus. Her research with farmers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds has focused on linking community development with policy initiatives by government.

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