September 18, 2023, 4:16 p.m
Updated: September 18, 2023, 5:09 p.m
Control procedures in the case of Serbian peaches and Polish plums containing the pesticide chlorpyrifos were in accordance with the law, representatives of the administration and the inspectorate for food safety, veterinary medicine and plant protection assured at today’s press conference in Ljubljana.
According to the director of the Food Safety, Veterinary and Plant Protection Inspection Fabian Kosa, who presented the findings of control over pesticide residues in food in the last period, their inspectors carried out control over food business operators appropriately. The inspection also checked the establishment of internal control at the operators regarding pesticide residues and found that they themselves have tightened control over their suppliers, said Kos. According to him, the inspectors also decided to tighten the import procedures for shipments of fresh fruit and vegetables from Serbia, namely in such a way that the first three shipments of each exporter may not be placed on the market until receiving a consistent sample of analyses, and they also organized with the stakeholders video conference. Regarding the allegations of poor information from the Administration of Food Safety and Plant Veterinary, Kos said that food business operators are responsible for implementing internal food control and informing consumers, which is also required by European legislation.
The Acting General Director of the Administration confirmed the same Vida Sweat. According to her, the administration checks the conformity of food on the market, taking 5,000 samples annually, 1,000 of which are for checking pesticide residues. “This in no way absolve food business operators from not having internal controls in place to ensure that the food they put on the market is compliant. This is their primary responsibility. If non-compliance is found, the inspection takes appropriate measures based on the established breach, he can also carry out stricter control, just as we did in these cases,” she emphasized.
Cucumbers to destruction
According to Kos, the inspectors detained ten shipments, totaling around 136 tons, during the intensified control since mid-August. Nine were compliant, and one shipment, weighing around 18 tonnes, was non-compliant and was destroyed. It was pickles for processing from Serbia. This year, 21 shipments from Serbia were tested for pesticide residues, all other samples were negative.
Regarding the details of the analysis of Serbian peaches for the content of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which was allowed in Slovenia and the EU until 2020, the inspector Nadja Škrk explained that the peaches were imported at the beginning of July and distributed to one retail chain, which had already sold all the peaches upon receiving the result of the pesticide content.
In the case of plums, the inspectors came to the conclusion about the pesticide content during the procedure as part of the annual sampling program. According to Škrk, the sample was taken only for the food in the store to which 200 kilograms of these plums were delivered, and not for the entire shipment. This means that the result is only valid for this part, and it is “unreasonably to conclude that all plums that have been distributed are non-conforming”.
The plums they sampled were delivered a week earlier, so the information about the exceeded values of the already sold fruit would, according to the inspectors, only be an unnecessary source of doubt for the consumer. At the same time, according to Škrk’s explanations, it is also a question of risk, since it was not, for example, aflatoxin or pathogenic bacteria. In this case, there would be a serious acute risk and consumers would be informed immediately.