France has implemented a ban on the import of cherries treated with phosmet, an insecticide already banned in the country, according to a decree dated March 16, published on Saturday in the Official Journal.
The European Commission had refused at the beginning of 2022 to renew the registration of this molecule, used to fight against Drosophila suzukii, a tiny invasive midge, which arrived in France ten years ago.
She notably invoked the “
unacceptable risks for operators, workers, passers-by and residents
”, pointed out by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa).
The decision also noted “
a high acute and chronic risk for consumers
” as well as for wildlife.
The introduction, importation and marketing free of charge or against payment in France of fresh cherries intended for food produced in a country authorizing plant protection products containing the active substance phosmet for the treatment of cherry trees are suspended for a period of one year from the entry into force of this decree
", indicates the text of the decree.
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Serious concerns for arborists
On the other hand, it provides for a derogation for cherries from these countries grown in organic farming, “
considering that European rules relating to the organic production of cherries do not allow the use
” of pesticides containing this active substance.
The ban on the use of this molecule has raised serious concerns among arboriculturists in France, some of whom demonstrated last January, particularly in Ardèche, Vaucluse, Gard and Rhône, fearing a drastic drop in their harvest.
Drosophila Suzukii, which reproduces at lightning speed, lays its eggs in ripening red fruits, especially when the weather is hot and humid.
According to French arborists, the products still authorized (Success 4, Exirel, Karate Zeon, in particular) would require more treatments for even reduced effectiveness.
Seven years ago, the ban on a first molecule also deemed toxic by health authorities, dimethoate, had already increased the workload, according to producers.