“Dutch raisins contain substances banned in the EU”

New research from the food watchdog Foodwatch has shown that even more residues of chemical plant protection agents have been found on raisins than in previous years.
Many traces of illegal drugs were even found on it. Despite the health risks, the NVWA has not acted. All this appears from new research into the control figures from the Dutch Food and Consumer Safety Authority (NVWA) for the year 2021. As every year, Foodwatch requests these figures for analysis. “These are shocking results that make it very clear that strict action is needed to make our food safe and fair. Supermarkets and governments must finally take responsibility,” says campaign manager Anke Bakker from Foodwatch.

The figures show that raisins broke a record last year when it comes to contamination with chemical plant protection products. The average number of residues per sample was 18.6 and no less than 39 types of residues were found on a sample of the Jumbo. Foodwatch also drew attention to this last year, when the average number of substances was 10.8. The maximum number of toxins found in one sample was then 30. In 2021, the situation will therefore have worsened even more. According to Foodwatch, there were also health risks in 2021, but because they did not meet enforcement standards, the NVWA did not act.

“Because the safety standards only say something about the individual residues, the stacking effects of poison mixtures are not taken into account at all. This while different residues can reinforce each other dangerously. Foodwatch is also sounding the alarm this year about these flawed safety calculations and is again turning to supermarkets for currants with poison cocktails from the shelves,’ says Anke.

“The consumer has the right to information”
She states that no supermarket steps in despite the previous warnings. Foodwatch calls on the supermarkets to actively communicate with the shelves in the store about the policy on pesticides. “What requirements do the supermarkets place on cultivation and residual products? The consumer has the right to this information in order to make an informed choice.”

Illegal substances found
In total, 73 residues of pesticides banned in EU agriculture were found on 18 raisin samples. It concerns 15 different types of illegal substances. These raisins were sold by Albert Heijn, ALDI, Jumbo, Lidl and Plus. Despite the fact that Europe has banned these resources in its own agriculture, it is allowed to import products grown with them outside the EU. Foodwatch wants to stop that, because otherwise Europe will continue to cooperate in exposing grape-growing workers in other countries to documented harmful substances. In addition, the toxic residues still end up on the plates of Dutch consumers.

Foodwatch points out that banned pesticides are even still produced by EU member states for export to other parts of the world. “It is morally totally reprehensible that we use this double standard. There is no way Europe can justify this and must put an end to it”, says Anke.

Organic raisins only alternative
The NVWA rarely carries out measurements on organic raisins, but the 11 measurements over the past four years show a remarkable picture. On average, 0.7 toxic residues were still found per measurement. There were a total of 8 residues, none of which are allowed in organic farming, and 5 are even illegal in EU farming. Whether these products have been falsely certified organic has not been further investigated by NVWA.

Compared to conventional raisins, organic raisins are still much cleaner. As long as politicians and supermarkets do not make strict demands on the use of pesticides, Foodwatch advises consumers to buy as many organic raisins as possible.

For more information: www.foodwatch.org

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