Supermarkets ignore Co-op spray ban


6 July 2001



Supermarkets ignore Co-op spray ban

By Donald MacPhail

RIVAL supermarkets claim they have no plans to follow the Co-operative Group which has banned more than 20 pesticides used to produce the food it sells.

The Co-op challenged other chains to follow suit and ban pesticides where there are doubts about safety – even if scientific evidence does not prove this.

The chain, which is also Britains biggest farmer, has told its suppliers they cannot use 24 suspect chemicals, including six used in Britain.

Approved chemicals on the list include triaxoide a seed dressing on about 65% of the UK barley crop. The rest are mainly rarely used organophosphates.

But a Sainsburys spokesman said all the non-UK approved chemicals on the Co-op list had been banned for some time – as long ago as 15 years in some cases.

Sainsburys was confident about the safety of UK-approved products and some pesticides were being phased out in any case, the spokesman added.

Tesco, Britains biggest supermarket which recently recorded annual profits in excess of 1 billion, was unable to comment.

But a spokeswoman for Asda said: We take pesticide safety very seriously, undertake regular testing and adhere to industry codes on their use.

Jonathan Tipples, National Farmers Union director on the Assured Food Standards board, described the Co-ops move as a marketing ploy.

If all the retailers came to us and said we wont buy them, then we would have to reconsider, he said.

But in the meantime well take our advice from the statutory bodies set up to judge the safety of pesticides.

Co-op head of public relations Martin Henderson said the ban was intended to highlight flaws in the regulation process.

Some rules allows new pesticides to enter the marketplace without having to prove they are better or safer than existing products, he claimed.

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