How do you explain the presence of pesticides in carrots organic?

Organic vegetables at the market in Caen in may 2008. — AFP PHOTO

  • Journalists from France 3 have found residues of three pesticides in carrots bios of the Organic brand it Good.
  • For Future Generations as well as for the national Federation of organic farming (Fnab), this revelation requires an investigation of the repression of the frauds to know the origin of the contamination.
  • These analyses also show for the Fnab the need not to “weaken the organic supply chain”.

A discovery that is a mess. Journalists from France 3 have found pesticides in carrots labeled organic after having carried out tests on eight brands, four from agriculture and conventional and four organic certified.

Three pesticides in carrots Organic it Good

A lot of carrots organic, the Organic brand it Good, this
” residues of three plant protection products “, say the journalists. Even more than carrots non-organic selected for the study. How do you explain that ? “This is not necessarily known to the general public, but there are a few plant protection products allowed in organic farming “, said the
Anses (French Agency for sanitary safety of food) that publishes the list.

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Yes, but in the specific case of the batch of carrots Organic It Good, the three molecules detected are azoxystrobin, the difénoconazole and the prosulfocarbe, all three totally prohibited in organic agriculture. The presence of traces of these pesticides on those carrots are supposed to be organic can be explained by external contamination. France 3 suggests a number of avenues : an application in a nearby field by a farmer in conventional agriculture, a setting in which contact with products containing pesticides during transport or storage of carrots or a contamination to the irrigation system, the groundwater can contain their own pesticides.

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A fraud at a time of the chain ?

But François Veillerette, director of Future Generations, an association for the defence of the environment, rejects the hypothesis of external contamination. “It can happen, but in the specific case of these carrots Organic it Good, the number of pesticides found and the quantities (even if the rates are too low to cause a public health problem), are too important for that it is only an external contamination. “

In other words, for François Veillerette, there has been fraud at one level of the chain. “Cheating comes from it may be the producer, which would not have complied with the specifications of organic agriculture, but it may also have occurred at the distributor level which would have labeled deliberately carrots from agriculture conventional carrots organic,” he continues. This is why an investigation of the repression of the frauds is necessary. The bio must maintain the confidence of the public with a label and strict sanctions when requirements are not met. “Interviewed by France 3, Organic it Good demented fraud :” The evolution of the ecosystem may explain the presence of small amount of these products but does not call into question the rigour and the process of biological of our producers. Qualification bio, therefore, is not likely to be challenged “. After the revelations of the chain, the company says on its website that it had made a counter-expertise by an accredited laboratory : “We confirm that there is no trace of pesticide was found on our carrots “.

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Not to draw a general conclusion

On his side, Stephanie Pageot, president of the Fnab (national Federation of organic farming) also requires an investigation of the repression of the frauds, while asking them not to call into question the entire organic supply chain from a particular case. “In the past, other analyses similar to that undertaken by France 3 showed that the organic products were much less contaminated than others,” she says.

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The investigation by example of What to choose, ” The Bio-is it really the coup ? “, published in September last, for which the consumers ‘ association has compared nine core samples for organic and six non-organic. The analysis of the pesticides was without appeal : “no residues of [pesticide] sought is not found in eight of the nine samples of core organic. Only those purchased from Biocoop have a trace, not quantifiable. The non-organic contain, they, one and seven residues at very low levels, writes the magazine. But two batches of [non-organic] contain traces of iprodione, a substance fungicide considered by Anses as disruptive endocrine. “

Further strengthening the organic supply chain

For Stephanie Pageot, the survey of France 3 shows that this is not the time to drop the organic supply chain and to lower its standards. However, the signs are not all positive today, according to the president of the Fnab. Wednesday, however, at Rungis, in a speech at mid-term of the States-general of supply, Emmanuel Macron, has sung the praises of the bio. “But next, Stéphane Travert, his minister of Agriculture, announced in September the withdrawal of State aid to the maintenance of organic farming and sets a goal to get to 8 % of agricultural surface in organic farming in 2020 when we’re already at 6.5 % today, laments Stéphane Pandora. A target of 20 % would be much more ambitious. “

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Another threat pointed to by the organic farmers in French is the willingness of the european Unionto define for Europe a new regulation on organic agriculture is supposed to reassure consumers even more. The text, which still needs to be validated by the special commission for agriculture of the european Council, a priori, by the end of the year, provides, inter alia, a relaxation of the controls of farms organic. “We would be more controlled once a year, but once every two years only, says Stephanie Pageot. In other words, organic farming regress. We, what we want is to progress. “