The research took place between 2011 – the year that governments were supposed to start banning pesticides – and 2019. Rather than a decrease in the substances, it shows they actually increased in that time frame. A third of all apples, Europe’s most grown and consumed fruit, had toxic pesticides on them. In 2019 it was found that one out of three fruit samples were contaminated; half of all cherries sampled and half of all pears and peaches. Vegetables are less prone to insects and disease, so pesticide contamination is lower. But the analysis still showed a rise in contamination of nearly one-fifth at 19 per cent.
An asparagus farm in Belgium where pesticide use was found to be high. Worst offenders for growing the chemical-laced fruit and vegetables were Belgium with 34 per cent of samples contaminated and Ireland at 26 per cent. Just over one-fifth of fruit and vegetables in France, Germany and Italy were found to contain traces of pesticides. An increase in chemical combinations was also found, multiplying the risk to consumers. This figure rises to a shocking 87 percent in Belgium and 85 per cent in Portugal.
Governments have been obliged to phase out the toxic pesticides found in the study since an EU directive 2011, but a European Commission report in 2019 found that none have been phased out.
Despite this, the EU claims there was a 12 per cent drop in 2019 in the use of pesticides that contain the agents.