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Written in Irish Issues: 11/03/08, 04:46:25 by jonathan  | Print article  | View all categories.


Friends of the Irish Environment


An Irish environmental group has called for a kick start to a pesticide
'National Action Plan' after a leaked EU Report on pesticides due to be
published shortly reveals that a record proportion of 49% of fruits and
vegetables sold in the EU are contaminated with pesticides. [1, 9.1]

23 pesticides were detected at levels high enough to present an acute risk
to adults - according to the EU's own risk calculations. The results are
based on the analysis of 65,810 samples of fruit and vegetables, cereals,
and processed products. Friends of the Irish Environment have published the
report on its website.

The group says that unacceptable resides of pesticides in food have
increased rapidly in Ireland. In 2000 there were 6 different pesticides
residues above the Maximum Residue Levels [MRL]. In 2005 there were 27.
Fruit and vegetable products had an overall failure rate of 1.2% in 2000.
That has now increased to 3.2%. [3]

The Irish figures for 2006, released in April 2008, are often even above the
EU average.

The percentage of cereal samples containing pesticides residues sold in
Ireland doubled from 2005 - 2006 from 17% to 38%.with 11% over the MRL [3;
1, Table D]. This is more than 15 times the EU average. [4, Table D]

More than twice as many Irish fruit and vegetables were over the MRL limits
compared to fruits and vegetables imported from our European partners,
according to Ireland's latest 'Pesticide Use in Food' [4, p.7]. 51.7% of the
fresh fruit and vegetables sold in Ireland had detectable pesticide resides.
[4, p.5]

Of 84 apples on sale in Ireland, 61 had pesticide resides at or over the
MRL. [4, Table 1]

A recent EU study ranked pesticides as Europe's number one food issue with
consumers expressing more concern on pesticides than any other topic. [5]
FIE says that increasing frequency of pesticide residues supports the Green
Party's call to move the control of pesticides from the Department of
Agriculture to the Food and Safety Authority. [7]

FIE has written to the Minister for State for Agriculture and Foods, Trevor
Sergeant, urging him to bring the pesticides under the Food and Safety
Authority to parallel the European Commission, where pesticides legislation
is covered by the Directorate for Health and Consumer Protection and by the
Directorate for Environment.

They are also seeking a 'kick start' to a National Action Plan for
pesticides with explicitly mandatory reduction targets. National Actions
Plans are required under the new EU legislation due for a 2nd reading in the
European Parliament on 2 November. FIE has asked for the opening of a public
consultation period in advance of the Plan.

FIE has also written to Ireland's 13 MEPs drawing their attention to the
leaked Report and the latest Irish figures asking them to resist pressure to
weaken pesticide controls in the current EU parliamentary debate.

The group says that 'recent intense lobbying here and across Europe seeking
laxer controls by farmers is misdirected. Unless farmers adopt Integrated
Pest Management (IPM) and change their methods, they will remain stuck on a
treadmill of increasing pesticide use as resistance increases and the
beneficial natural controls are killed off.'

Further Information:

Tony Lowes 027-73131 / 087 217 6316

Henriette Christensen, Policy Coordinator, Pesticide Action Network, PAN
Europe, tel: +32/2 289 13 08, henriette@pan-europe.info

See also: PAN [Pesticides Action Network]


Report and backup documentation on FIE website:


[1] Monitoring of Pesticide Residues in Products of Plant Origin in the
European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, DRAFT COMMISSION STAFF
WORKING DOCUMENT, 8 September 2008

[2] Annex I, Monitoring of Pesticide Residues in Products of Plant Origin in
the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, DRAFT COMMISSION

[3] National Food Residue Database, Monitoring Programes 2000 - 2005

[4] 2006 Pesticides Residues in Food, DoAFF, April 2008

[5] Report on surveillance of infant food for pesticide residues. Food
Safety Authority of Ireland, October, 2006

[6] Risk issues, Eurobarometer, September 2008

[7] 'Greens would transfer food safety', Irish Times, 3 May 2002

Tony Lowes

087 2176316


Friends of the Irish Environment

A company limited by guarantee registered in Ireland.

Company No. 326985. Directors: Caroline Lewis, Tony Lowes.

Full mailing address: Allihies, County Cork, Republic of Ireland [No postal

Tel & Fax: 353 (0)27 73131

Email: <mailto:fie@eircom.net> admin@friendsoftheirishenvironment.net

Website: http://friendsoftheirishenvironment.net/