The EU-Mercosur trade agreement, as it currently stands, will exacerbate the ‘boomerang effect’ of pesticides banned in the EU whose residues re-enter the bloc as food imports, a study on Tuesday (11 May) has found.
The EU exported 7,000 tonnes of pesticides, prohibited inside Europe due to environmental and health concerns, to the Mercosur bloc of South American countries (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) countries in 2018 and 2019.
But residues of these dangerous substances have been found in agricultural products the EU imports from the Mercosur, such as fruits or vegetables.
EU law does not prohibit the export of pesticides banned in the EU to third countries, allowing companies to make profits by selling these chemicals to non-EU countries – what has previously triggered calls to ban the export of toxic pesticides to third countries.
Food coming from outside the EU, on average, has more than twice the amount of pesticide residues than products produced within the bloc.
In 2018, the EU exported a total of more than half a billion euros’ worth of pesticides to Mercosur, mostly to Brazil (€446m worth).
Conversely, Mercosur exported dozens of agricultural products to the EU, worth over €21bn, during the same year – including soybeans, grains, fruits, and coffee.
EU Observer, 7 May 2021