Illegal Pesticides Found in Germany′s Produce | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 22.08.2008
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Illegal Pesticides Found in Germany's Produce

Greenpeace has slammed the German government for using illegal pesticides after finding an alarming amount of dangerous substances that are prohibited in Germany and even the entire EU in fruits and vegetables.

Raspberries were one fruit found to contain illegal pesticides

Greenpeace's report may make German's think twice before enjoying a bowl of fruit

Greenpeace has uncovered scores of prohibited pesticides in German fruits and vegetables, according to the online version of Der Spiegel newsmagazine.

According to Greenpeace, 59 substances that are illegal in Germany were found in fruits and vegetables for sale in the nation, Spiegel reported. Three-quarters of the substances Greenpeace found are considered harmful to both personal health and the environment. 21 of the pesticides detected are illegal in the entire EU.

The organization rated data provided by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Food Safety in 2006 and compared it with the list of accepted pesticides also provided by the government.

Cutting corners proves harmful

German consumers risk ingesting harmful pesticides from the produce they buy at supermarkets

Greenpeace accuses the government of failing to protect consumers

"In Germany famers are spraying illegal and highly dangerous pesticides in unbelievable quantities," Greenpeace Chemical Expert Manfred Krautter said. "Many of our farmers are operating a shady business because they want to save money with the illegal agricultural poison."

But Greenpeace isn't just reprimanding those who are directly using the illegal chemicals in the fields. The government has also come under fire, as the worldwide organization is accuses it ignorance that will have incur long-term consequences.

Toxic substances kept under wraps

A Greenpeace protest

Greenpeace has been drawing attention to harmful pesticides for years

"It's a scandal that the highest German Food Standards Agency doesn't research illegal pesticides," Krautter said. "And instead of taking action against criminal farmers and retailers, the Minister of Agriculture and the administration are cloaking the problems in secrecy."

Published in February 2008, the "National Report on Food Monitoring2 contains 14,942 foodstuffs complied by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Food Safety. In 6,750 cases, the samples either exceeded the legal amount of a specific pesticide or contained a mix of several toxic substances. 2,176 of these products came from Germany, with fresh herbs, potatoes and raspberries containing the most illegal pesticides.

A spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture said the government is aware of the problem and is "actively dealing with it," adding that the sale and use of illegal pesticides "must not be tolerated."

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