Study finds pesticides in most apples

Bad apples? Most apples sold in Switzerland contain pesticides. Keystone

Most apples sold at Swiss supermarkets contain pesticides, according to a study commissioned by environmental organisation Greenpeace. 

This content was published on October 21, 2015

An independent laboratory tested 126 apples from supermarkets in 11 European countries. Among the conventionally-grown apples, 83% had a pesticide residue, and 60% showed traces of two or more pesticides. However, all of the organic apples were pesticide-free. 

The Swiss apples came from retailers Aldi, Coop, Lidl and Migros. On average, the conventional apples had 1.8 different pesticides on them. An apple from Migros even served up five different substances. There was fungicide on an apple from Coop’s Jamadu line, which is targeted at children. 

Although the chemical quantities were within Swiss legal limits, Greenpeace SwitzerlandExternal link has criticised the results because of the apples’ contribution to the toxic burden – the steady accumulation of various chemicals in people’s bodies. This can have a negative effect on overall health and in particular, on reproduction. 

“The high use of pesticides in industrial agriculture reduces biodiversity, endangers our health and leaves a chemical cocktail in our foods. It is high time to work on a pesticide exit plan and to offer consumers sustainably produced and healthy foods,” according to Philippe Schenkel, Greenpeace Switzerland’s agricultural expert. 

Depending on the type of food, the Swiss health authorities have outlined specific limits on a host of different substances. The detailed listExternal link can be viewed in German, French and Italian.

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