Every 5th fruit contaminated with banned pesticides


20 percent of all fruit from Brazil that ends up in local supermarkets contains pesticides that are banned in the EU. This is according to a study published on Wednesday by the environmental NGO Greenpeace. “The results show a worrying toxic cycle,” says the NGO.

For the test, the Greenpeace experts bought mangoes, papayas, melons, grapes, limes and figs from the chains Hofer, Lidl, Billa, Metro and Transgourmet, but also from Brunnenmarkt in Vienna. Subsequently, a total of 16 samples were examined by the laboratory (LVA GMBH) in Klosterneuburg, Lower Austria. According to information from NGOs, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of all fruits examined contained pesticides harmful to health or the environment, and one in five fruits even contained pesticides banned in the EU.

chemicals from the EU
However, many such chemicals are manufactured in the EU for the global market, it said. These include the chemical “imidacloprid”, which was detected in melons in the test. According to the environmentalists, the international group Nufarm also exports the pesticide from the neonicotinoid group known as the “bee killer” from its branch in Linz. However, Nufarm refused an export to South America to Greenpeace.

The NGO criticized this trade in pesticides on Wednesday: “European agrochemical companies produce plant toxins that have been banned in our fields for years and do big business with them in countries such as Brazil. The pesticides endanger nature and the local population and eventually end up on our plates via imported food,” says Sebastian Theissing-Matei, agricultural expert at Greenpeace. “Imidacloprid is a real bee killer and has been banned in the EU since 2020. Only one teaspoon is enough to kill 500 million of these important pollinators, and it is irresponsible and immoral to continue to export this poison.”

Criticism of the Mercosur Pact
Carbendazim (may cause gene defects) and cyromazine (may impair human fertility) were found during the test, among others. On Wednesday, Greenpeace called on Economy Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP) to campaign for an end to the planned EU-Mercosur pact at the EU trade ministers’ conference.

The Mercosur free trade zone includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. The EU and the South American Mercosur countries had reached an agreement in principle for a trade agreement before 2019. Austria opposed this at the time. The “No to Mercosur” is also enshrined in the current government program.

The EU Commission wants to make a decision on the controversial agreement before the end of this six-month period. This aims to reduce tariffs on 90 percent of EU exports of chemicals, including pesticides. Greenpeace criticized that the pact would inevitably lead to crop poisons becoming cheaper to buy and thus more widely used.

Source: Krone


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