It has emerged that European countries are divided about the continued approval of copper products for crop protection, after its last extension in January.
Negotiations on the compounds are ongoing with reports suggesting the European Commission will put new proposals to member states later this month. However, despite being “of particular concern to public health or the environment,” according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and being candidates for substitution, materials such as copper sulphate are still widely used by organic farmers who say they have now suitable alternatives.
“Considering the information available in the framework of the confirmatory data, the risk assessment remains unchanged, and therefore the new information provided does not change the overall conclusion drawn during the renewal assessment of copper compounds,” EFSA said recently. There is particular concern about the effects on vineyard workers in particular.
European farmers’ association Copa Cogeca told journalists, “At this stage, we do not have concrete and robust solutions, leaving producers in a truly uncomfortable situation. We would suggest appropriate risk mitigation measures, as considered by the Commission. These could be considered as a transition, allowing for the management of all risks while leaving farmers with time to find adequate solutions.”
Photo Caption: Despite their toxicity copper compounds are regularly used on organic fruit crops and vines.