KKL-JNF and Desert Agriculture 758x530.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Amounts of 20 pesticides permitted in fresh produce will be reduced significantly, while 16 others will be completely banned, according to new regulations passed by the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee on Tuesday.
The permitted amount of certain organophosphates will be reduced as well. The committee also approved the use of replacement substances considered more friendly to humans and the environment.
Former health minister Yesh Atid MK Yael German said she would support the change, but protested that some organophosphates would continue to be permitted. She called to adopt the more stringent regulations in the US and Europe.
“Pears and onions, for example, absorb large amounts of pesticides,” she said. She noted various herbs such as dill and chives also absorb a lot of pesticides, adding that pears should look “less attractive while public health is protected.”
Health Ministry toxicologist Dr. Tamar Berman said her office is interested in more availability of large and attractive fruits and vegetables to encourage the public to consume them for their nutritional value.
Ethel Shaprut, the agriculture minister’s supervisor of pesticide use, said that in the US and Europe, organophosphates are still permitted, “but we have reduced their use.”
Committee chairman Kulanu MK Eli Alalouf said that even though the new regulations were approved, the Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee will hold another session in three months to hear the ministries’ program for more significant reduction of pesticide use. “There is no doubt that we can’t abolish their use completely, but we must act according to our climate and soil. My committee will supervise and follow up the updating of regulations,” he concluded.