1 in 3 fruit produced in Europe contains at least one pesticide

A study published by an NGO shows that the presence of pesticides in fruit produced in Europe has been increasing for ten years, contrary to the will displayed by the EU institutions. Worse, one in ten samples is contaminated with two or more pesticides. However, some fruits and countries are more exposed than others.

Nearly a third of the fruit produced in Europe is contaminated

Can we still eat fruit peacefully in Europe? Nothing is less certain with regard to the unpublished study published on May 24 by the NGO Pesticide Action network Europe (PAN EU). According to its surveys and analyses, almost a third (29%) fruit produced in Europe are contaminated.

To achieve these results, the NGO uses data from a European program which takes thousands of samples each year from agricultural production in EU Member States (imports are excluded). For its measurements, it focuses only on the most dangerous substances for humans and which are present in the flesh of the fruits.

However, it appears that 28 pesticides among the 55 most harmful have been spotted among the 100,000 samples. Worse, residues are more present today than in the past in certain plants, while the stated policy of the EU is to reduce traces. Over the last ten years (between 2011 and 2019) cherries have been particularly exposed (+152% residues), but this is nothing compared to kiwi fruit (+397%!).

The 5 fruits whose contamination rates have increased since 2011:

  • kiwis (+397% pesticide residues)
  • cherries (+152%)
  • apples (+117%)
  • pears (+103%)
  • peaches (+52%)


Which fruit has the most pesticides?

The fruits most exposed to pesticides:

  • blackberries (51% of the samples taken were contaminated)
  • peaches (45%)
  • strawberries (38%)
  • cherries (35%)
  • apricots (35%)

The countries that produce the most fruit containing pesticides:

  • Belgium (34% of the samples taken in Belgium were contaminated)
  • Ireland (26%)
  • France (22%)
  • Italy (21%)
  • Germany (20%)

The most common pesticides found among the samples:

  • Fludioxonil
  • Cyprodinil
  • Tebuconazole
  • Difenoconazole
  • Lambda Cyhalothrin

Worse, we also learn that among the samples taken in 2019, one in ten (10%) were contaminated by at least two dangerous substances, compared to only 6% in 2011. Multi-contaminated fruits are therefore also more numerous than in the past, with , as a result, the risk of a “cocktail effect” particularly dreaded. For the vegetableson the other hand, the levels of toxicity seem lower, because they are simply less victims of insects and less affected by diseases, insecticides and pesticides are therefore less necessary: 13% of samples contained it in 2019 (+2% compared to 2011).

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