33.7% of the Spanish foods analyzed in 2019 had pesticide residues; a percentage that increases to 44.4% in fruits and vegetables. Researchers have detected residues of up to 37 different pesticides in some products, such as strawberries, 25 of which can affect the hormonal system.
In fact, strawberries top the list of the foods with the highest presence of these substances overall in 2019, followed by apples, lettuce, tomatoes, and peaches, according to the Straight to your hormones. Disruptive food guide, report prepared by the Ecologists in Action NGO that was made public on Tuesday, May 11. The report analyzes the latest official data available on the presence of pesticides in food provided by the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN).
The NGO wanted to make visible the contamination of the food that is for sale in Spain and warn of its effects on health.
One of the most outstanding data revealed by the report is that 31% of the pesticides detected are unauthorized substances in Europe due to their toxicity. In addition, it points out that part of the pesticides used remain in food as invisible residues and reach the mouths of consumers.
Regarding the analyzes carried out by AESAN to guarantee that these residues do not exceed the maximum safety limits, the NGO clarified that 98.3% of the samples complied with the regulations in 2019 because, despite having pesticide residues, these residues were below the established limit.
However, they stated, the real percentage could be higher because AESAN doesn't include in its analysis the pesticides that are used the most in the field. An example is 1,3-dichloropropene. Despite being the third most used pesticide in 2019 and having been investigated for its carcinogenic potential by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), AESAN doesn't include it in its analysis.
The NGO stressed that any amount of pesticides that affect the hormonal system through endocrine disruptors could cause health damage in a way comparable to carcinogenic substances.
"The maximum residue limits used by AESAN do not protect against these pesticides. The only protection against them is to prohibit their use," the NGO stressed. They also warned that the combined effect of different substances puts the population before an unknown danger that is impossible to assess, according to the scientific community.
Ecologists in Action recalled that European regulations, such as the Strategy "From farm to table" and the Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides, require a 50% reduction in the use of chemical pesticides by 2030.