From January to March, as many as three shipments of Macedonian vegetables with harmful pesticides were returned

Photo: "Free Press" / Dragan Mitreski

The dangerous pesticide chlorpyrifos was discovered in two shipments of mixed salad and carrots from Macedonia that were to be imported to Croatia. As of 2020, chlorpyrifos has been banned in the EU due to its genotoxic potential and developmental neurotoxicity

Harmful chemicals have been detected in vegetables from Macedonia, the European rapid warning system in food trade announced on Monday, the Croatian portal Danica.hr reported. As stated by RASFF, it is a matter of mixed salad that arrived by truck at the Croatian border and was intended for our market.

Fortunately, the testing of the samples revealed the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos, so the lettuce from the border was returned to Macedonia. In the samples that were immediately analyzed, 0,055 mg/kg of chlorpyrifos were detected in the salad. The permitted level of this pesticide in food is 0,0 according to the EU decision. A few weeks ago, the same pesticide was discovered in fresh Macedonian carrots. In the samples, 0,049 mg/kg of chlorpyrifos ethyl was detected, and the maximum allowed level is 0,01 mgg/kg, which means that there were five times more pesticide than allowed in the carrots. At the end of January and in a shipment of mixed salad that should have been imported from the same country.

There is no information on where or if these vegetables ended up on Macedonian markets. As of 2020, chlorpyrifos is banned for use in the EU due to its genotoxic potential and developmental neurotoxicity in mammals. Numerous scientific studies have shown that exposure to chlorpyrifos can affect children's neurological development and harm the unborn child. They associate it with disorders in brain development, hyperactivity, growth retardation, reduced IQ. There were also problems with chlorpyrios in Croatia, because last year this illegal pesticide was found in several shipments of tangerines.

By the way, last summer a shipment of Serbian peaches was returned from the Croatian border to Serbia after a high level of the pesticide chlorpyrfos was determined, the European Commission announced. The dangerous shipment was reported by Croatia, but no details were given about the specific danger, it was only indicated that the cargo from Serbia was potentially risky. On July 7, 2023, Slovenia also returned peaches to Serbia due to the presence of the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Otherwise, the European Union has not renewed the approval for the sale of plant protection products containing the chemical compound chlorpyrifos. Thus, from January 1, 2020, the use of preparations containing this active substance is prohibited. Chlorpyrifos is mainly used in horticulture and especially in the cultivation of citrus fruits, acting mainly against insects.

However, the EU Food Safety Agency (EFSA) considers chlorpyrifos to have "potential genotoxic and neurological effects" for human embryos and infants. A Columbia University study concluded that children exposed to chlorpyrifos in the womb had lower IQs or attention deficits. Chlorpyrifos has been out of use for years in most countries in the European Union, but insecticides with this chemical compound continue to be used in gardens in southern Europe and in third countries, from where fruit is freely imported into the EU, reports tageschau.de. These are two insecticides that belong to the category of pesticides known as organophosphates.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after contact with chlorpyrifos, people can experience various effects on the nervous system, such as headaches, blurred vision, increased salivation, seizures, and in extreme cases, depending on the amount and duration of exposure, can lead to death, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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