Eighty percent of the kitchen herbs tested by Greenpeace are contaminated with pesticides. This was the result of the NGO’s market check published on Tuesday.
Greenpeace examined the assortment of the five most common kitchen herbs in supermarkets, hardware stores and garden centers. Residues of 23 different sprays were detected in the 20 samples.
Twenty different kitchen herbs – from chives and parsley to mint, basil, thyme and rosemary – from conventional and organic farming were put under the microscope. The results were shocking for Greenpeace: among the pesticides detected was deltamethrin, which is particularly dangerous for bees. In addition, the pesticides carbendazim and chloridazon, which are not approved in the EU, were found. Although all pesticide concentrations were below the respective limits, Greenpeace said the multiple high contaminations were alarming: residues of five or more pesticides were found on more than 20 percent of the samples.
Use of sprays in the agricultural sector
Greenpeace calls on Agriculture Minister Norbert Totschnig (ÖVP) to minimize the use of sprays in the agricultural sector and reconsider his negative stance against the EU regulation to significantly reduce pesticides in European agriculture. “It is shocking that even plant toxins harmful to bees have been found on potted herbs. After all, flowering herbs attract bees, bumblebees and co. who then poison them with sprays,” said Melanie Ebner, agriculture spokeswoman at Greenpeace. Greenpeace also rated the overall exposure from the many different pesticides as very concerning because interactions of pesticide-active ingredients have not yet been sufficiently researched.
Greenpeace recommends consumers reach for organic herbs. With these products, consumers can be sure that no synthetic chemical pesticides are used. In the retail sector, organic products account for around 43 percent of the total. However, it was disappointing that fresh, cut herbs of organic quality were unavailable in any of the retail chains tested and mainly were not of regional origin.
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