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Israel: Improvement in organic compliance

The Ministry of Agriculture has announced a sharp decrease in the amount of pesticide found in organic produce. The pattern can be seen over the years - in 2009 24% of produce labelled as organic was found to contain excessive amounts of pesticide, down to 8.6% in 2010 and 3.6% in 2011.
There has also been a fall in the amount of produce incorrectly labelled as being of organic production. This fell to 37.4% in 2011 from 91% in 2009. Residual pesticides were found in samples (zucchini and melons) out of the 54 samples of fruits and vegetables tested. The pesticides came from spraying of nearby non-organic crops.

According to the ministry 47% of stores surveyed properly classified organic food, 33% needed improvement, and 20% improperly classified organic produce. The stores failed the survey due to incorrect signs on shelves, use of bills of lading that were not in compliance with the law, produce marketed to stores in unmarked containers, and unlabelled organic produce.

Organic produce accounts for 1.5% of all agricultural produce grown in Israel, and 13% of agricultural exports, most of which goes to the EU. In 2009-10, Israel exported 68,337 tons of organic vegetables, 3,585 tons of organic fruit, and 1,670 tons of organic citrus. 650 people, including 380 farmers work in the organic produce sector. There are 78,000 dunam (19,500 acres) of organic crops.

The Ministry of Agriculture has overseen fresh and processed organic produce since 2008, when regulations on the production and sale of organic produce came into effect.


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