(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
A few hours before the Knesset was due to disband, the Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee decided to significantly limit the levels of pesticides in fruits and vegetables.
The regulations include a prohibition of the use of carbamates – an organic compound derived from carbamic acid – contained in most dangerous pesticides in Israel.
These have been used against insects, but can affect the neurological and hormonal systems. Also barred will be the use of organophosphates for agriculture.
As for chemicals like DDT, the committee decided to reduce the permissible maximum use, while in a minority of cases, alternative compounds that are proven to be more friendly to human and animal healthy and the environment.
The regulations have already been signed by Prime Minister and acting Health Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and they will go into effect when published in the Reshumot gazette.
Dr. Rina Varssano, the ministry’s official in charge of prohibited food contamination, said that if farmers abide by the regulations, “fruits and vegetables that we eat will be healthier from now on.” Tami Mor of the Agriculture Ministry’s legal department, added that the regulations had not been updated since 2008. Since then, much research has been carried out in the study of pesticides, many of which are already not permitted to be used abroad.