Fruit and vegetables with pesticides in the EU have tripled in ten years

  • The results raise serious environmental and human health concerns.
  • The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Spain, Portugal and Greece are the main producers of PFAS-contaminated food in the EU.
  • NextFUMIGREEN promotes food safety by developing natural fumigants as an alternative to agrochemicals.

Brussels, 28 February 2024. Why is it important to consider the use of natural fumigants on fruit and vegetable crops? According to a study published by the Pesticide Action Network (PAN Europe), fruit and vegetables in the European Union with traces of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have tripled in ten years. This is alarming due to the deliberate spraying of food crops with PFASs, which makes fresh fruit and vegetables a direct and systematic exposure for consumers, as well as harmful to the environment.

Between 2011 and 2021, residues of 31 different PFAS pesticides were detected in fruit and vegetables in the EU, including strawberries, peaches and apricots.

The main producers of PFAS-contaminated food within the EU are the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Spain, Portugal and Greece, while countries such as Costa Rica, India and South Africa are the main exporters of highly PFAS-laden food to the EU.

“Farmers are generally unaware that they are spraying ‘everlasting chemicals’ on their crops. There is no mention of it on the label,” says PAN Europe, which argues that these pesticides are “absolutely unnecessary” and urgently calls for a ban on them in agriculture.

In the EU, 37 PFAS-based pesticides are authorised, which are a set of some 4,700 synthetic chemical agents that accumulate in humans and the environment and can cause health problems such as liver damage, thyroid disease, obesity, fertility problems and cancer, according to the European Environment Agency.

This is why we at LIFE NextFUMIGREEN take the opportunity to reinforce our support and promotion of natural fumigants as a key alternative to chemical pesticides. Fumigens based on organic compounds from renewable sources are highly effective against pests without leaving toxic residues or harming beneficial organisms, and play an essential role in protecting crop and ecosystem health. They also promote biodiversity by conserving beneficial insects, such as pollinators and natural pest controllers, which are critical to the balance and health of agricultural ecosystems. These benefits contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture.


The European project LIFE NextFUMIGREEN actively promotes food safety by developing natural fumigants from plant extracts to control pests in intensive greenhouse horticultural crops. With the leadership of Fumihogar and with the collaboration of the Foundation for Agricultural Auxiliary Technologies; the Finnova Foundation; B&B Asesores Auditores Ambientales; Comercial Quimica Masso, and BrioAgro Tech, the project has a total budget of 2,758,921.01 €, 60% subsidised by the LIFE Programme.


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