News 27.11.2020

Stop toxic pesticide exports: EU wants to “lead by example”


In October 2020 the European Commission released its Chemical Strategy for Sustainability which includes the aim to stop the export of hazardous pesticides banned in the EU. foodwatch welcomes this step towards stronger regulation on pesticide exports to protect the environment and people. 

The EU finally reacted on the pressure of foodwatch and many other NGOs and Members of the European Parliament who have made an active call for the EU to address the double standards on pesticides that are currently the norm.

The Chemical Strategy for Sustainability states that the EU will:

“lead by example, and, in line with international commitments, ensure that hazardous chemicals banned in the European Union are not produced for export, including by amending relevant legislation if and as needed.”

This announcement is an important step and commitment from the European Commission but the timeline refers only to 2023.  

Pesticides that are banned for use in the EU can still be produced and sold by EU companies (Bayer, BASF) and Swiss company Syngenta, and exported to other countries to use. The pesticide residues are then coming back onto our plates via imports of fruit and vegetables that have been treated with these pesticides.

foodwatch’s action against the export of toxic pesticides 

In September this year, foodwatch wrote to the relevant European Commissioners to call for action following our petition which was launched in April 2020. 

France has already taken steps to ban production, sale and export of these toxic pesticides, the EU already has the blueprint needed to make this an EU wide ban, and the sooner the better.

To continue to put the pressure on the Commission to move this forward quickly, foodwatch co-signed a letter with PAN (Pesticide Action Network) and 74 other NGOs at the beginning of November, which has been sent to the four European Commissioners. 

foodwatch will continue to work with other NGOs and decision makers until these good intentions become a reality.