Finnish customs have rejected 37 consignments of food imports due to excess pesticides. According to a press release issued Wednesday by the customs authority (Tulli), at the end of October more shipments of contaminated products had been rejected than during the entire previous year.
During the autumn, excessive pesticide residues were found in Chinese and Peruvian beans, Egyptian dates, Polish tomatoes, fresh Asian dragon fruit, as well as dried chili peppers.
"A total of 20 different pesticide residues were found in the chili peppers, which is quite exceptional, as a maximum of six different pesticide residues are usually found," says Suvi Ojanperä, Head of the Food Chemical Research Division at Tulli.
This year, problems with pesticide residue monitoring have been identified in large batches. For example, five large batches of Indian and Pakistani rice were rejected and nine batches of oranges from Egypt and Israel.
Spanish kale, German beer
In addition, four batches of organic products were rejected due to pesticide residue findings that violate organic legislation. The rejected products were Spanish kale, German non-alcoholic beer, Peruvian Quinoa and Indian ashwagandha powder (medicinal plant commonly used to reduce stress and anxiety).
According to Customs, the most problematic products tend to come from far away outside the EU, since some pesticides that are completely banned in Europe are allowed in non-EU countries. However, around a third of the rejected batches were imported into Finland through another member state. In those cases, the consignment had already been cleared in another EU country.
In addition to the rejections, Customs has issued remarks for 43 batches of products due to pesticide residues. A note is given in cases where the maximum pesticide level is not exceeded.