2 July 2001
Co-op bans 20 pesticides
By FWi staff
THE Co-op is banning more than 20 pesticides used in food production and calling for more support for organic farming.
The banned list includes hormone disrupters and organophosphates. Among those on the list are six products still permitted for use in the UK.
The list has been issued to all suppliers, says the store, which is also Britains biggest farmer.
It took this decision after a survey showed rising consumer concerns about the impact of residues on health and the environment.
Affected produce includes cabbages, sprouts, lettuces and carrots. The Co-op is also restricting the use of about 30 other pesticides.
The chain, which has 1100 stores, said all items of fresh produce would be affected and it is looking to extend the ban into 3500 lines of own-brand foods.
It is now challenging the government to apply the precautionary principle and ban any pesticide where there is a doubt about its safety.
The Co-op has also pledged support for UK organic farmers by throwing its weight behind the Organic Targets Bill, promoted by the Sustain alliance.
This proposes that 30% of UK agricultural land should be used for organic production by 2010.
The chain calls for a Government plan to boost organic farming, describing current funding of 20 million a year until 2006 as “paltry”.
In another move, the Co-op will risk prosecution by selling peaches below the minimum size permitted by the EU.
It claims EU red tape prevents more organic food being made available, as growers cannot reach minimum standards without pesticides and chemical fertilisers.
Posters will tell customers: “Im small and perfectly formed, but legally you cant buy me.”
Acknowledging the need for pesticides in mainstream farming, the Co-op calls for a fast-track system to replace older products.
- Illegal pesticide levels in lettuce, FWi, 31 May, 2001
- Government organic policy is woolly, FWi, 11 April, 2001
- British farmers lose out on organics, FWi, 14 June, 2000
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