Pesticide residues found in oranges from Israel
In early 2020, Finnish Customs carried out intensified controls of oranges imported from Israel due to the discovered presence of bromopropylate, a pesticide that is prohibited in the EU. Customs has rejected about 104 000 kg of oranges.
Customs examined and rejected the first consignment of oranges in February. By mid-April, Customs has examined altogether 16 consignments and rejected eight consignments amounting to 104 000 kg due to the presence of bromopropylate.
“We examine the first consignments that arrive in Finland always at the start of a new harvest season. As we discovered problems with the consignments, we decided to continue with controls until the end of the orange harvest season in Israel. Most likely we will also conduct intensified controls during the next harvest season as well”, says Ms Jonna Neffing, head of product safety.
Consignments that were found to be non-compliant with regulations were prevented from entering the market. During the examinations, the oranges were stored at the warehouses of importers. Only consignments that were confirmed as safe for consumers were allowed to end up in shops.
“We have not found bromopropylate in any of the products we have examined for several years. Its presence in Israeli oranges this year was a surprise”, says ms Suvi Ojanperä, head of division responsible for chemical examinations of foodstuffs.
Bromopropylate is a pesticide used in repelling ticks that are found in citrus fruit. The EU prohibited the use of bromopropylate entirely in 2011, as it could not be proven as safe for consumers.
Each year, Customs examines about 3 000 consignments of imported foodstuffs, and searches for pesticide residues in about 1 000 samples.