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French farmers outraged by report on fruit and veg residues

The Générations Futures NGO has just published a report on the presence of phytosanitary residues in the fruits and vegetables that are consumed in France. This report has been widely circulated in the French media and has caused outrage among farmers.

The report in question has collected the results of the monitoring plans of conventional fruits and vegetables in the 2012-2016 period, which was carried out by the French Directorate General of Competition, Consumption and Repression of Frauds (DGCCRF). The report, which focuses on 19 fruits and 33 vegetables, highlights that 72.6% of the fruit samples and 41.1% of the vegetable samples had pesticide residues that could be quantified.

Among the fruits, the grapes led the ranking (as 89% of the samples contain quantifiable pesticide residues). They were followed by clementines and cherries (88%), grapefruit (86%) and strawberries, nectarines and peaches (83%). The fruits with the least amounts were plums (35%), kiwis (27%), and avocados (23%). The report also states that 2.7% of the fruit samples had pesticide levels above the maximum residue limits (MRLs).

Meanwhile, the vegetables with the most quantifiable pesticide residues were celery (85%), fresh herbs (75%), endives (73%), celeriac (72%) and lettuce (66%). At the bottom of the ranking were beets (4%), asparagus (3%) and sweet corn (2%). The report highlights that 3.5% of the samples exceeded the MRLs.

As a result of the alarm generated by this report among the public, which has had a lot of media coverage, public institutions have made some statements.

The French Agency for Health Safety (ANSES) has assured that there is no danger in eating fruit and vegetables in France. The DGCCRF has highlighted two issues: that the MRLs are not sanitary limits and that the persistence of non-compliance in recent years is explained by the fact that the samplings are rarely carried out on the same producers from one year to the next.

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Brown Poirson, stated on Twitter that the report "highlights the urgency to stop using phytosanitary products, such as glyphosate, in an uncontrolled manner."


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