PAN EuropeNews


Press Release

25 Novembe r 2009

Commission must reduce pesticides in Europe’s food

"The European Commission has endangered public health for many years by failing to protect food supplies from excessive pesticide contamination." This is the conclusion drawn by Hans Muilerman from the campaigning organisation Pesticide Action Network Europe, who will be speaking tomorrow at a crop protection conference in Brussels. The environmental group maintains that the Commission has permitted producers to put food on the market which contains dangerously high 'maximum residue limits' of pesticides. These are the upper permitted levels of residues likely to be left in food after it has been properly treated with a pesticide.

Muilerman added: "The situation was made even worse in 2008 when the maximum residue limits on 100,000 food products were raised in order to satisfy demands by European trading interests. But this policy was at the expense of public health. Now it appears that the Commission has recognised its error in raising the limits."

PAN Europe believes that many other maximum residue levels in food still need to be reduced for the same reason, leaving the public at risk until improvements are made, which will mean reducing maximum residue levels further with the aim of identifying the lowest feasible level. Doing this would also be a better way of taking into account the fact that the Commission's policy has not considered emerging health concerns including endocrine disruption and developmental toxicity. It also fails to consider the risks of 'combination toxicity', which results from the simultaneous daily consumption of dozens of pesticide residues. The measurement of maximum residue levels currently overlooks the health dangers of residues combining in the human body.

In view of these as yet unquantified risks and given the likelihood of many years' delay in framing laws to protect consumers, PAN Europe is looking into the possibilities of producing pesticide-free food, since this is believed to be the only way of guaranteeing risk-free food.

For further information please contact:
Peter Clarke, Media Coordinator, PAN Europe
Tel: +32 (0)2 808 3473

— ENDS —

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