MEPs to discuss pesticide laws

Growers with concerns over proposed changes to the EU's Thematic Strategy for Pesticides - in which the replacement of Directive 91/414 could see many common pesticide products taken off the shelves - should act now to have their voices heard, the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) has said.

The revised proposals, agreed by agriculture ministers in June, go back for a second reading next month ahead of a final vote by MEPs, expected in December or January. However, much of the industry is opposed to many of the changes and the way in which the proposals have been drawn up.

The FPC believes there is a flaw in the decision-making process and is calling on the European Parliament to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the impact of the proposals. Unless this is done, according to FPC chief executive Nigel Jenney, Parliament should reject all proposals.

"There is a perception among the (European) Commission that the application for a bureaucratic, time-limited derogation for 'cut-off substances' can enable the horticulture industry to retain the use of products where no alternative is available," Jenney said. "In reality this will not provide either an urgent solution to a sudden outbreak of persistent pests, weeds and diseases, or tackle long-term issues of resistant strains."

The proposals, added Jenney, could have serious implications for pest management globally if resistant strains spread. Without a viable market in Europe some crop protection companies might have to reconsider their investment in research.


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