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Traces Of Pesticides On European Fruits Have Increased By 53 per cent

Food and Beverages | Thursday, June 02, 2022

Contamination of fresh fruits by the most hazardous pesticides has dramatically increased in Europe over the past decade, according to a nine-year study of government data.

FREMONT, CA: Recent researchers explicit that, three out of four apples and half of all blackberries contained residues of toxic pesticides. Chemicals found in these products have been linked to ailments such as cancer, heart disease, and birth defects. The contamination of cherries more than doubled from 22 per cent to 50 per cent over the same period, with residues on kiwi fruits rising from 4 per cent in 2011 to 32 per cent in 2019. Over nine years, a study of roughly 100,000 popular cultivated fruit samples in Europe discovered a 53 per cent increase in contamination by the most dangerous pesticides. Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe conducted the research.

The analysis did not cover British produce, but according to the CBI, the UK imports over 3.2 million tonnes of fresh fruits and vegetables from the EU each year, meeting around 40 per cent of domestic demand. According to the study, at least one harmful chemical was discovered in 87 per cent of Belgian pears and 85 per cent of Portuguese pears. Almost a third of all the fruits researchers sampled were contaminated with hazardous substances in 2019, the last year for which researchers had data. Blackberries (51 per cent), peaches (45 per cent), strawberries (38 per cent), cherries (35 per cent), and apricots (35 per cent) were the most infected fruits tested (35 per cent). Celery (50 per cent), celeriac (45 per cent), and kale (31 per cent) were the veggies with the most contamination.

In contrast, the latest study found that contamination levels for crops like apples (up 117 per cent) and cherries (up 152 per cent) have "dramatically" increased since 2011, the year that EU countries were expected to begin banning the relevant pesticides. Overall, they discovered that the proportion of infected fruits and vegetables in 2019 was up 8.8% over the baseline period of 2015-17. It is expected that the EU will reform pesticide law on 22 June, which will include new reduction targets. The event was postponed in March due to concerns over food security in the wake of the Ukraine crisis. Environmentalists have expressed concern about what they call a "systematic onslaught" by agriculture lobbyists on the next proposal. The European Commission declared in March that green farming standards will be suspended "exceptionally" to allow crops to be sown across 4 million hectares (10 million acres) of ecological emphasis areas.

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