Based on official data, the report indicates that a large proportion of European pears (49%), table grapes (44%), apples (34%), plums (29%) and raspberries (25%) were sold with pesticides linked to increased risk of cancer, birth deformities, heart disease and other serious health problems.

The organisation even notes that most of the pesticides in question are a threat even at very low doses.

From the document, entitled “Pesticide Paradise”, it is noted that Portuguese pears were among the most contaminated (68%), behind Belgian (71%) and Dutch (70%) pears.

Regarding apples, Dutch apples were the most contaminated, almost three quarters (71%), followed by Greek apples (54%). In the case of Portuguese apples, half of them (50%) were contaminated.

In the case of raspberries, Portugal was much better positioned than the worst ranked, Norway, with 61% contamination. The value for Portuguese raspberries was 11%.

PAN Europe analysed 44,137 fresh fruit samples tested by governments between 2011 and 2020 and concluded that the situation regarding pesticides has worsened, and that contamination of apples, pears and plums has almost doubled since 2011, increasing by 110%, 107% and 81%, respectively.

In 2020, a third (33%) of all tested fruits were contaminated, while in 2011 the value did not go beyond 20%.

Pedro Horta, from the Portuguese environmental organization Zero, an entity that is part of PAN Europe, also says, quoted in the document, that fruit is becoming increasingly contaminated because “the industry is writing the rules”.

“The European Commission has been aware of the failure of phasing out since at least 2018, but has not taken any significant action”, accuses PAN Europe, adding in the report’s conclusions that it is as if, “instead of taking a step towards agriculture without toxins, the European Union (EU) was taking a step towards a totally toxic agriculture”.