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French Fruit and Vegetables Swarmed with Pesticides

Générations Futures' latest report reveals data on pesticide presence in French produce. The report presents an analysis of different fruits and vegetables, contrasting Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) and actual pesticide residue presence. It includes the analysis of 52 different products, with samples taken from 2012 until 2016. Pesticide residue found in fruits and vegetables is alarming. By compiling and analysing data from the DGCCRF, the report shows that, on average, 72,6% of fruit samples contained pesticide residue traces. 2,7% surpassed the MRL established by the government.

Vegetables are affected as well. 41,1% of vegetable samples contained pesticide residue traces with 3,5% exceeding the MRL. Among the most affected are celery, fresh herbs and endives.

Quantified residue values per fruit over 5 years, Générations Futurs Report, 2018

Quantified residue values per vegetable over 5 years, Générations Futurs Report, 2018

As is well noted in the report, readers must take the results with a pinch of salt. Detection values are already established and present limits to which researchers record residue presence. Meaning that even though not registered due to current methodology, pesticide residue presence may be even higher.

Through the report, Générations Futures promotes organic methods of production that stray from the use of pesticides or integrated production systems that reduce the value of pesticides as a first go to for farming. It even aims towards differentiating between pesticide-free farming and residue free products. The latter concerning residues at the time of intake, instead of safe pesticide-free practices.

To accept that 75 % of fruits we eat are contaminated is a bitter thing to do, especially considering that MRLs are only linked to human diet and health safety but not to environmental and veterinary safety. Therefore, the widespread presence of pesticides should not only bring concerns for our health but also help us reconsider the current agricultural model and its risks to the environment, including our ever-important bees.

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