In Poland increased chlorpyriphos was detected for quite a long time due to a mistake made by the Ministry of Agricultare. In 2016, a regulation that amended the standards for the pesticide, wasn’t introduced until June, when all the farmers had already sprayed fruits and vegetables. The Ministry started to inform about the changing standards too late.
According to the story in Newsweek, farmers do not follow legal acts on an ongoing basis. They are guided by common sense: the protection program and the content written on the labels of pesticides.
It is not known whether the Ministry of Agriculture has checked the content of the chlorpyriphos labels after the change of legislation.
There’s no man’s land between the sanitation authorities and the ministry. No one checks if the farmer is actually spreading pesticides.
This ‘no-man’s-land’ is a fundamental problem of the Polish food control system. Agricultural crops are supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture, ready-made food is supervised by the Ministry of Health. The State Inspection of Plant Protection and Seed Production (PIORiN) should check whether the farmer is spreading the pesticide properly. But PIORIN did not answer questions about this.
In the last 2.5 years, the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate has detected 37 cases of exceeding the MRLs of chlorpyriphos, but only 6 cases were reported to the common EU alert-system, RASFF.
Explaining from the authorities: from taking a sample to deciding that something needs to be done, several days pass. The tomatoes that were tested just don’t exist anymore. The authorities consider that, if the vegetable or fruit was intended only for the domestic market, there is no point in ‘cluttering up’ RASFF with such information.