Supermarkets take action on pesticides
Pesticides are found in many foods - including fruit, vegetables and bread. Some of these chemicals are particularly worrying because they are hormone disruptors. Babies and young children need special protection from pesticides as they are more sensitive to their effects - see Into the mouths of babes (PDF format - 54K).
Our customer care line takes about 8000 calls a week, I can't remember the last time someone asked about pesticides...
prior to the campaign
Thousands of you sent emails and cards in response to Friends of the Earth's supermarket league table. This has resulted in a dramatic turn around in some supermarkets commitment to reducing pesticides in food.
In July the Co-op listed 50 pesticides which it has now banned or restricted the use of and started to publish the results of its own residue testing on its website - so for the first time consumers can regularly check on the residues in the food they buy.
Marks and Spencer
In response to today's Friends of the Earth statement, we are absolutely determined to reduce pesticide use on our crops
Marks and Spencer,
15 August 2001
M&S announced in August that it would prohibit the use of 60 pesticides from January 2002, set targets for residue reduction, and like the Co-op, it will publish the results of its testing on its website.
This is very different to what M&S said about a year ago. And it was announced in response to media coverage of Friends of the Earth's analysis of fruit and veg results showing 63% of M&S produce contained residues.
These two retailers are acting ahead of Government by including within their banned lists pesticides which are legally approved in the UK but they are also extending the bans worldwide.
And the rest?
The biggest five supermarkets (Asda, Tesco,
Sainsburys, Somerfield and Safeway) have yet to take any real steps to get rid of the most dodgy chemicals or make any real commitment to cutting pesticides - despite making claims that they are!