Thursday, May 15, 2008

Loss of pesticides threatens EU food production

European arable cropping could be made uneconomic if proposed EU legislation to reform pesticides approvals is passed, a group of leading European scientists and researchers have warned. Drawn from seven countries, they issued a 'Declaration of Ljubljana' warning that the sustainability of European farming was at risk.

The ongoing EU re-registration process has already eliminated 530 out of 952 existing products, but the revision of that legislation could go much further. When the European Parliament discussed an EU Commission proposal for the revision of 91/414 in October 2007, they added criteria that would potentially remove 70 to 85 per cent of the remaining active substances.

I have some personal knowledge of this subject as I am on a stakeholders committee concerned with the implementation strategy of the Pesticides Safety Directorate. At a recent meeting, there was a discussion of the fact that we were now down to two actives to deal with carrot fly and one of those is not entirely desirable in terms of its impact on watercourses.

Pesticides are toxic and they need stringent regulation, which they receive. However, there has to be a balance in terms of food security, the availability of fruit and vegetables in particular at affordable prices and the desirability of a healthy and balanced diet. New detection methods can pick up miniscule residues which pose no threat to health. Indeed, where there are problems, they tend to be with produce imported from outside the EU.

Biopesticides can make a contribution, particularly in protected crops: See our RELU research project page Biopesticides . Despite what advocates claim, all our food needs cannot be met economically through organic production (which in any case uses so-called 'traditional compounds'). Synthetic pesticides are a precious resource that need to be used sparingly within a philosophy of integrated pest management. But we couldn't do without them.


Unknown said...

Hi good article. I'm going to mention it on my pesticide blog Is there any chance that you would be interested in being a guest blogger on my site? I'm looking for people online who have postive, neutral and negative views on pesticides and are willing to share them. Look forward to hearing from you. Best wishes Helen Dunnett

Unknown said...

How did Helen post a comment at 5.26 AM when Wyn's original post was dated 5.43 AM? Is she the infamous wife and holder of a Charlton season ticket - all should be revealed in the interests of transparency in the blogoshere and EU polity.

Unknown said...

LOL! No idea, but I can tell you now that I wasn't up at 5.26am reading blogs on pesticides. (that day anyway) Current time: 22:24

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