Bug Juice

27 Mar 2008

Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN), an umbrella organization for concerned groups in Austria, France and Germany, has announced that it has ‘uncovered substantial evidence’ of pesticide contamination in wines sold within the European Union.

The group’s analysis of 40 Australia, Austrian, Chilean, French, Italian, German, Portuguese and South African wines found 24 different pesticide contaminants. Five of these are classified by the European Union as being carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic or endocrine disrupting.

The non-organic bottles of wine contained an average of four different pesticides, with a maximum of up to ten different pesticides found in one example. Six organic wines were also tested, and were found to be pesticide free, aside from one bottle that contained low-level traces of pesticides most likely due to chemical use in surrounding farmland.

‘Many grape farmers are abandoning traditional methods of pest control in favor of using hazardous synthetic pesticides,’ said Elliott Cannell of PAN Europe. ‘This trend has a direct impact on the quality of European wines.’

German Green Euro MP Hiltrud Breyer said that the results were ‘alarming’ and urged EU member states to ban dangerous pesticides. ‘Now the EU is reviewing the authorization of pesticides, it must seize the opportunity to ban those that are dangerous,’ she said.

Bess Mucke


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