Pesticide risks in the food chain

  • Five consequences for consumers and the environment of indiscriminate pesticide use
  • The European LIFE NextFUMIGREEN project advocates the use of natural fumigants as a green alternative to agrochemicals.

Brussels, 14 February 2024. The increase in large-scale food production to feed a growing population has led to the massive use of pesticides, chemicals designed to control pests and diseases in crops.

While these products have proven effective in safeguarding crops, their presence in the food chain raises a number of questions about the potential risks to consumers. European projects such as LIFE NextFUMIGREEN promote the use of natural fumigants as a green alternative to agrochemicals.

The indiscriminate use of pesticides has serious consequences for human health and the environment. Among the most prominent are:

  1. Water and soil contamination: pesticides can leach into aquifers and contaminate drinking water sources, as well as accumulate in the soil and affect its fertility.
  • Loss of biodiversity: pesticides can affect other organisms, such as beneficial insects, birds and mammals, which can disrupt ecosystems and reduce biological diversity.
  • Pest resistance: continued use of pesticides can lead to the development of resistance in pests, requiring the use of higher doses or new chemicals to achieve the same effect.
  • Impact on human health: Prolonged exposure to pesticides can have adverse effects on human health, such as respiratory problems, allergies, neurological diseases and cancer.
  • Food contamination: pesticide residues can remain in food and be ingested by humans, raising concerns about food safety.

It is essential to take measures to reduce reliance on pesticides, such as encouraging sustainable agricultural practices, diversifying crops, promoting the use of biological pest control methods and natural fumigants, and regulating pesticide use to minimise negative impacts on the environment and human health.

Natural fumigants such as those promoted by LIFE NextFUMIGREEN are a key alternative to chemical pesticides and a valuable tool in protecting food quality by controlling pests and pathogens, reducing toxic residues and promoting more sustainable agricultural practices. Their use helps to ensure that food reaches our hands with the highest possible quality.


The European project LIFE NextFUMIGREEN actively promotes food safety by developing natural fumigants from plant extracts to control pests in intensive horticultural crops under glass. 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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