Again, I delay a publication to make another about a hot subject.
The real title should be: European public opinion intoxicated by the biased debate on pesticides? This is less catchy, right?
Under the title "traffic of banned pesticides is booming," the environmentalist french website Reporterre feeds a false controversy, itself taken over by different environmentalists and anti-globalization websites and magazines.
What's this? The periodic detection of residues not allowed on certain fruits and vegetables. Despite the publication says, these detections remain at a stable level of about 2% of the analyzed samples.
On the website Phyto Forum (the link is also on my blog), you'll find a more complete explanation of the situation (in french).
I will not spend time on the issue, it does not show much interest, sincerely. I'll just add this: once again, the consumer is hijacked by ideological interests that are rarely explained to him, or through biased publication, in which it is said only a part of the truth, but just the part that scares. And fear is an extremely powerful mean for action and mobilization. It allows a full manipulation of public opinion by leaving reflected only the dark side of things.
What I want to write today, it is a post about European failures that lead us to unmanageable situations. I specify that I am pro-European, and even federalist, so that there is no ambiguity. That does not prevent me from having a critical eye.
Back to the topic at hand, pesticides.
There is an EU Regulation, the 1107/2009, which affirms the principle of harmonization of EU phytosanitary regulations. But member states are masters at home, as regards national regulations, under that Regulation.
What are the consequences? They are numerous and perverse.
- Each member state is free to allow the molecules to crops he wants within it prefers with doses and time of use it considers appropriate.
- The manufacturer who must pay the registration dossiers, in each country, will choose the most represented local crops for probate, leaving secondary crops.
- Farmers can then seek approval of these molecules for secondary uses. These are crops that manufacturers and administrations have not included initially in the approvals. But this point is very complex and changes a lot from one country to another.
- The principle of reciprocity in theory allows to simplify approval procedures. For example, Germany has authorized a new substance on apple. Portugal may ask to Germany any existing information in order to facilitate the approval process of the same substance, on the same crop, in its territory. But it works very badly, and national ministries do not like to reduce their own workload.
- Any plant protection product, unauthorized on a specific crop, is forbidden to use on this crop. Non-authorization amounts to a ban. This is true for all products, even allowed on near other crops. For example, a product, authorized on apple, is not necessarily allowed on pear. Similarly, a product can be authorized on orange, but not on lemon or tangerine.
Thus, a producer of strawberry in France, will not have the same products authorized a strawberry producer in Spain, or a product, approved on apricot in France, will be allowed on tomato in Italy, but not in Holland. The result is a chaotic regulation, where everything should have been simplified.
But the farmer continues to produce and has to solve problems on his crops.
Basic crops, such as wheat, potatoes, grapes, apples and corn, have no problem. These are crops, present in large quantities in all European countries. Similarly, citrus or olive, have no problem in Spain.
By cons, citrus in France, or parsnips, saffron, blueberries, quinoa, stevia, buckwheat, and all the old fruits, vegetables and cereals, so fashionable in recent years are classified as "orphans uses" and almost do not have any authorization.
The large majority of unauthorized residues detected cases, derived from this fact. It is not a problem of unauthorized substances in Europe, but unauthorized uses on crops, of authorized substances in Europe.
As you can see, it has nothing to do, because each product approved in Europe went through the screening and tests process on health and environment, which is the strictest in the world.
The legal problem has nothing to do with it, and nobody is trying to poisonconsumers. Against by many people trying to poison the political and social debate, especially now, on the eve of the European elections. And it works very well with subjects that scare.
The European Community would do well to ask the right questions about the functioning of its administration, and should ensure that citizens are adequately informed. On the other hand, it should act quickly to ensure that regulations, intended to simplify the lives of Europeans, do not complicate them because national administrative burdens and complexities.
It would probably save that debate be polluted or poisoned by this kind of nonsense.