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Europe: Eaten plenty of pesticides today?
by Editor (comments: 0)
According to the 2015 pesticide residues report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published in early April, 43.9% of all European food tested positive for residues. This figure has risen compared with previous years. Pesticides have become one of the main ingredients of our food in Europe. An article by the Organic Consumers Association reveals the details.
The EFSA announced this year that 97.2% of tested food was within the limits permitted in EU legislation and they concluded that the risk to consumers' health is low. In the opinion of Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN), this conclusion is misleading since 28% of the food in fact tested positive for multiple pesticide residues – the pesticide cocktail – whose safety has never been evaluated.
Moreover, individual kinds of fruit and vegetables may contain much higher amounts, as with grapes where pesticides were detected in 77.3% of the samples, while 58.3% contained multiple residues. Up to 19 pesticides were detected in a sample from Turkey, a number that is common in food produced in Europe as well. In 2015 the percentage of fruit and vegetables in European shops without detectable residues decreased considerably to 53.3%.
PAN Europe has repeatedly stressed to regulators that they should consider in their food safety evaluation that pesticides often do not occur individually but in combination. If pesticide cocktails are taken into account, the permitted limits are shown to be not safe and the health risk to humans is not, therefore, as low as the EFSA claims.
Angeliki Lysimachou from PAN Europe points out that it is insane that pesticide-contaminated food has become the norm. For her the claimed safety of the chemicals is based on theoretical and completely biased models. She calls on the regulators to act responsibly and put an end to the daily exposure of people to pesticides.
Hans Muilerman, PAN Europe's chemicals officer, said that the way the EFSA communicates the data every year gives the impression that their role is to reassure consumers rather than protect their health. The EFSA was asked 10 years ago to assess the risk of exposure to the residues of cocktails of chemicals but nothing has been done even though the evidence shows that the current method is not safe.