French study finds pesticide residue levels exceed legal safety limits

According to a study released last Tuesday by a French environmental organization that cites official figures, traces of pesticides have been detected in a large proportion of non-organic fruits and vegetables sold across the country, in some cases exceeding legal safety limits. Générations futures said in its report that it had detected that 72.6% of fruits and 41.1% of vegetables sold in France contained pesticide residues.

“This report was prepared using the official database produced by France’s Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF),” the report said. The report was based on a research that took place from 2012-2016 and undertaken by the Ministry of Economy’s directorate. Générations futures called on the French government to adopt “prompt and efficient measures to promote organic farming” and to “strongly reduce pesticide use” in conventional farming.
According to the study, the fruits showing the highest levels of pesticides were grapes, with traces found in 89% of all samples. Next were mandarins and clementines with 88.4% and cherries with 87.7%. Others pesticide residues exceeding 80% of all samples included grapefruit, strawberries, peaches, and apples. The fruit with the lowest level of residues were avocados on 23%, kiwis at 27% and plums at 35%.

Nearly 7% of cherries showed pesticide concentration levels above the legal limit, along with mangoes and papayas, at 5%. The vegetable samples topping the pesticide list were celery with 84%, endives on 73% and lettuces at 71%.

The organization said that, in all, 19 fruits and 33 vegetables were studied to provide the data and, in some cases, 2.7% of fruit and 3.5% of greens exceeded legally permitted safety limits.