Romanian MEP concerned about pesticides in imported tomatoes

Romanian MEP Daniel Buda has warned that increasingly more imported fruits and vegetables that contain a significant amount of pesticides are appearing in the domestic markets.

"The tomatoes that are available both in supermarkets and in food markets withstand long periods of time without suffering changes in their appearance, resisting even over several months, given that, normally, their colour or appearance could change in just a few days. Imported tomatoes are treated with various chemicals that can have a negative impact on health, causing intoxication of the liver or kidneys or harm to the central nervous system," wrote MEP Daniel Buda on his Facebook page.

The MEP asked the Commission to specify what tools does Romania have to be able to guarantee the quality standards of imported fruits and vegetables.

To this, "the Commissioner for Health and Food safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, reported that to ensure compliance with the safety requirements of food imported into the EU there is comprehensive legislation. Regulation 178/2002bsi 882/2004 includes the main tools to achieve this goal. As part of this legislation, the Commission has drawn up a list of foods of non-animal origin on the basis of known or emerging risks which requires an increased level of checks before placing them in the EU.
In addition to EU standards in terms of safety, imported tomatoes must meet the marketing standards included in Regulation 543/2011, which contains provisions on the quality, size, presentation and labelling in accordance with international standards, mainly to ensure a fair competition between operators. The Commission is convinced that the tools available today make it possible to react promptly and effectively if such risks should occur," wrote Daniel Buda.

In February 2016, inspectors of the ANSVSA checked a total of 1,441 non-animal origin products which had the associated risk of the presence of pesticide residues and a total of 505 samples were taken for laboratory analysis. The checks were made at border inspection posts and import endpoints and were aimed to determine the presence and compliance with the accepted limits of pesticide residues in imported fruits and vegetables.

Of the 505 samples, reports were issued for a total of 440, and of these, only one sample, imported from Jordan, exceeded the maximum pesticide residue limits.

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