EFSA slammed by Pesticide Action Network over its methods

CEO's Unhappy Meal 2013 Publication

“European consumers are still not protected against multiple residue exposure, the accepted Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) are too high and pesticide residues in food are higher than 10 years ago”.

That’s according to the Pesticide Action Network Europe, which has been extremely critical of the recent information released by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The EFSA 2014 report, based on 2011 residue levels took more than 12,000 samples. “98.1 % of the tested food samples analysed complied with the legal limits and that 53.4 % of samples contained no measurable residues at all. The dietary risk assessment that was performed to estimate the long-term exposure of consumers confirmed that there was no long-term risk to consumer health through their diets from 99 % of the 171 pesticides assessed” the EFSA claimed.

The authority did concede that legacy pesticides were still an issue, while “the risk assessment that focussed on the short-term exposure revealed that potential consumer health concerns could not be excluded in 253 instances should the products that contained residues in high concentrations be consumed in high amounts. Finally, an acute risk assessment was carried out for pears that contained multiple residues of pesticides that share the same toxicological effects. Two samples of pears exceeded the toxicological threshold for cumulative effects.”

Nevertheless, PAN Europe have serious questions over the whole process:  “PAN Europe denounces the fact that EFSA still does not take into account long-term exposure to pesticides mixtures through food” the organisation states, referring to the policy of texting individual pesticides rather than designing a testing regime more reflective of consumer habits and typical culmative exposure over time.

“26.5% of the food we consume contains at least two pesticides and the potential synergistic effect of these multiple exposures is not taken into account in EFSA’s risk assessment” PAN Europe add. What’s more, the “EFSA has made a massive relaxation of MRLs in 2008″ which reduced the appearance of the problem, but not the reality, they contend.

Pesticide residues have in fact been increasing, while links to cancers, endocrine disruption, Parkinsons and even the diseases of western civilization and a range of other issues have increased in tandem. Indeed, as the previous links show, pesticides are showing up in the air, water, animal issue and breast milk, in doses formerly considered safe but now considered troublesome by many researchers.

This is all the more concerning  as, as PAN Europe revealed last week “the health commission of the European Union (DG SANCO), which is responsible for protecting public health, is attempting to develop a procedural “escape route” to evade an upcoming EU-wide ban on endocrine disrupting pesticides” Independent Science News reported yesterday. Moreover, as Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and others have reveled, the ESFA have had very close connections to the pesticide industry, connections for which they have twice been wrapped over the knuckles for by the European Parliament in 2012 and even earlier this year.

 For more on pesticides see the dedicated section of Arc2020.eu.

Oliver Moore
About Oliver Moore 189 Articles
DR. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu’auparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activitĂ© professionnelle. Il peut nĂ©anmoins admirer par la fenĂȘtre de son bureau les mĂ©sanges charbonniĂšres et les corbeaux perchĂ©s au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cƓur de l’écovillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L’écovillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d’espaces boisĂ©s, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d’habitation et de travail, ainsi qu’une ferme appartenant Ă  la communautĂ©. Les jours oĂč il travaille dans le bureau du centre d’entreprise communautaire, il profite d’une vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes sĂšches et les jardins familiaux.  Ce bureau au sein de l’écovillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant Ă©galement des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu’un laboratoire de fabrication (« fab lab »).  Oliver est membre du conseil d’administration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne Ă©galement des cours sur le Master en coopĂ©ratives, agroalimentaire et dĂ©veloppement durable Ă  l’University College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu’il publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large. Il consacre la majoritĂ© de son temps de travail Ă  l’ARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date Ă  laquelle l’Irlande a assurĂ© la prĂ©sidence de l’UE pendant six mois. C’est lĂ  qu’il a pu constater l’importance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale grĂące Ă  sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d’ARC. AprĂšs six mois, il est nommĂ© rĂ©dacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu’il occupe toujours aujourd’hui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des mĂ©dias sociaux, aide Ă  dĂ©finir l’orientation de l’organisation et parfois mĂȘme rĂ©dige un article pour le site web.  À l’époque oĂč on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, oĂč il a aidĂ© des ONG irlandaises de commerce Ă©quitable – au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador – Ă  raconter leur histoire.  Il se peut que ces jours-lĂ  reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de prĂ©fĂ©rer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. AprĂšs tout, la France n’est qu’à une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilitĂ©s de bĂ©nĂ©volat dans la communautĂ© dans les campagnes du centre de l’Irlande.