From next year, the Danish Salling Group wants only organic bananas in its stores. This is a result of the phasing out of controversial chlorpyriphos. The use of this pesticide may be harmful to the development of fetuses and children.
From early next year, the Salling Group's stores will, therefore, only sell organic bananas. Netto, føtex, Bilka, and Salling Super belong to this group. This change is intended to lessen the risks posed by the presence of Chlorpyriphos and Chlorpyriphos methyl.
In August 2019, the Salling Group announced that it wanted to stop the use of Chlorpyriphos. It could potentially cause harm to fetal and childhood development. Since then, this Danish retail group has been working with its suppliers to halt the use of this insecticide.
The Salling Group could not be assured that conventional bananas do not contain any trace of this controversial pesticide. For this reason, in 2020, the Salling Group will switch entirely to organic bananas.
Per Bank, the Salling Group's Administrative Director says, "The European Food Safety Authority concluded that Chlorpyriphos is unsafe. It may even be detrimental to your health. We, therefore, had to act. It is only organic bananas that are guaranteed to be free of this substance. That is why we opted for this solution."
Most of the bananas sold at føtex, Netto, Bilka, and Salling Super are already organic. The demand for these has risen dramatically in recent years too.
Banned in Denmark
The use of Chlorpyriphos is forbidden in Denmark. This is, however, not the case in other parts of the world. That leads to the risk of traces of this insecticide possibly being found in imported fruit and vegetables. The Salling Group knows for sure that other products are free of this pesticide. The same could not be said about bananas.
Anette Juhler Kjær, Group Vice President for Public Affairs, Communication & CSR at the Salling Group, says: “The biggest challenge with bananas is that many growers do aerial spraying. Chlorpyriphos can, therefore, also be found on bananas in areas that would otherwise not be sprayed."
"The farmers could not guarantee that their bananas did not have traces of this substance. We can, however, get this assurance from organic growers. That is why, from the new year, we will be exclusively offering these kinds of bananas to our customers."
Chlorpyriphos has been used for years. People who come into daily contact with this substance are at the highest risk of developing health issues.
Kjær says: “We are, therefore, specifically focusing on protecting the people who work in these plantations. They come into contact with this pesticide via their own trees or those of their neighbors. This change is a step in the right direction - for our customers, for our suppliers, and for us."