PAN EuropeNews


Press Release

23 June 2008

Ministers approve pesticide blacklist

Agriculture Ministers from across Europe today approved the creation of an EU-wide pesticides blacklist. The deal represents a landmark in European health policy and could see some of Europe's most hazardous pesticides removed from food products grown in the EU.

Meeting in Luxembourg, Ministers agreed to target pesticides linked with cancer, DNA mutation, reproductive toxicity, and hormonal disruption - which together contaminate up to 22% of food items tested under the Community food monitoring programme. Such substances account for around 5% of pesticides currently approved for use in the EU.

But while the development could deliver marked increases in the protection of human health, campaigners urged caution noting that last minute escape clauses had been drafted into the text of the proposal.

'The creation of an EU-wide blacklist brings European legislation into line with the many high street supermarkets which already operate their own pesticide exclusion policies' said Elliott Cannell, Coordinator of PAN Europe.

'Eliminating dietary exposure to hazardous pesticides would represent a big step forward in the protection of human health in Europe. Around 50% of all fruits and vegetables sold in the EU are shown to contain pesticides, while many of the pesticides most commonly found in EU food samples are among those most hazardous to human health. The proposal would also deliver lower risks of exposure for agricultural workers.

'Yet today's agreement isn't all good. At the last minute politicians agreed a series of clauses which could keep some hazardous pesticides on the menu where alternative pest management strategies are deemed unavailable. To add to this, politicians failed to provide greater protection to essential pollinator species, such as bees, which are currently dying in large numbers across much of Europe, or to reduce exposure to pesticides which disrupt foetal development.

The deal was approved by a qualified majority of member states acting in agreement with the Commission. United Kingdom, Ireland, Hungary and Romania were the only four countries which failed to endorse the proposal.

Additional analysis can also be found at For further information contact Elliott Cannell, Coordinator, PAN Europe.

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