January 30, 2023

Report — Dramatic rise in the use of toxic pesticides in EU fruits and vegetables

Photo by Bill Ebbesen (CC BY 3.0)

The use of toxic pesticides on fruits and vegetables in the European Union has dramatically increased over the past nine years, based on a study of government data.

The “Forbidden Fruit” report, a nine-year study by the Pesticide Action Network Europe group, said European citizens had been exposed to a “dramatic rise” in both the frequency and intensity of residues of pesticides.

According to the Associated Press. the report contradicts data from the EU’s executive branch showing a 12 percent reduction of the more dangerous pesticides in 2019 compared to the 2015-2017 period. The report claims pesticide use actually increased by 8.8 percent.

A third of apples and half of all blackberries surveyed had residues of the most toxic categories of pesticides, some of which have been linked to illnesses including cancer, heart disease, and birth deformities.

In all, the analysis of nearly 100,000 popular homegrown fruit samples in Europe found a 53 percent rise in contamination by the most hazardous pesticides, over nine years, reports The Guardian.

According to the CBI, the survey did not include British produce, but the UK imports over 3.2m tons of fresh fruits and vegetables from the EU each year, meeting about 40 percent of internal demand.

Professor Nicole Van Dam of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) described the report as “shocking”.

“What is the point of eating healthy if the healthy fruits and vegetables are sprayed with toxins?” she asked.

PAN Europe spokeswoman Salomé Roynel said: “Consumers are now in an awful position, told to eat fresh fruit, much of which is contaminated with the most toxic pesticide residues linked to serious health impacts. It is clear to us that governments have no intention of banning these pesticides, whatever the law says. They are too afraid of the farming lobby, which depends on powerful chemicals and a broken agricultural model.”