The World Health Organization qualified the pesticide in question as “highly hazardous” to human health.
Rabat – German authorities decided on January 7 to withdraw Moroccan peppers from their market after finding a high concentration of pesticide residue.
According to Hortoinfo, a Spanish horticultural newspaper, the presence of the pesticide in Moroccan peppers exceeds by 1,233% the new maximum limit the European Union approved in 2019. The presence of this active substance in identified batches of peppers is equivalent to 0.4 milligrams per kilogram, while the EU sets its level at 0.03 milligrams per kilogram. Many EU countries have decided to abandon the pesticide’s use in agricultural fields.
The pesticide in question is methiocarb, a plant protection chemical, which is used in products to combat thrips on pepper, tomato, cucumber, and zucchini, among other crops.
In 2019, the World Health Organization qualified methiocarb as highly hazardous to human health and said it presents toxic risks to birds, mammals, and crops. According to Hortoinfo, poisoning by methiocarb “causes salivation, lacrimation, urination, diarrhea, emesis, bronchorrhea, bronchospasm, bradycardia, muscle twitching, and weakness.”
A 2020 investigation revealed that Morocco is among the 10 top destinations for European countries exporting toxic pesticides that are banned in the EU. European nations including Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Belgium exported more than 81,000 tonnes of hazardous pesticides to 85 countries in 2018, adds the same source.
While these toxic chemicals are banned in Europe to protect human health and to preserve the environment, they are exported to poorer countries for profit.