One-fifth of all Turkish food exports contaminated with banned pesticides

Analyses of food and agricultural exports from Turkey to the European Union in 2020 have shown that some 25 percent of all products were deemed unsuitable, and 20 percent were contaminated with pesticides that are banned within the bloc, food engineer and food safety advocate Bülent Şık wrote for news website Bianet on Tuesday.

Şık said he combed through the European Commission’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) records for the last two years, and found that Turkish exports contained traces of pesticides that are also banned in Turkey.

The bloc has detected 13 banned substances on the exports, Şık found.

One of the substances, chlorpyrifos ethyl, impairs the nervous system and cognitive development in children. It has been banned in the EU for years, and despite Turkey having banned it in 2016, its use continued to date. A recall was ordered but not carried out, Şık said. The chemical was also the substance encountered most often on Turkish exports.

“Ban orders for some of these pesticides are 10 years old, but the question remains: Why have they not been called back? If they have, how can they still be in use? Of course that is, if the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry has an answer to give.”

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