Confectionery body supports call for global Endosulfan ban

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cocoa, Agriculture, European union, International cocoa organisation

Caobisco has announced its support for Environmental Justice Foundation’s (EJF’s) call for a global ban on Endosulfan, an insecticide that EJF claims is “highly toxic”.

The association of chocolate, biscuit and confectionery industries of the European Union told ConfectioneryNews.com that Caobisco​and its members are committed to ensuring that the cocoa supply chain is sustainable in all aspects: economic, environmental and social. “Hence, notably our action in relation to Endosulfan,” ​said the association.

ICCO recommendations

According to Caobisco, all the cocoa producing countries governments in the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) have taken on board the recommendation in the pesticides manual that this pesticide must not been used in cocoa.

However, a spokesperson for the association said it was very difficult to ascertian the reality of what is occuring on cocoa growing farms on the ground, and she said that is why Caobisco is supporting the EJF campaign, which it views as an additional action towards the elimination of the use of Endosulfan and sustainability in the cocoa supply chain.

Juliette Williams director of EJF told this publication that Endosulfan is already tightly regulated or banned in 72 countries. In the EU all 27 member states have banned the insecticide and this year Japan, US, Australia all announced bans with Brazil also introducing a phase-out.

Williams said that the next step for EJF is the conference of the parties to the Stockholm convention, which will meet in 2011 where parties will have to consider this recommendation and make a judgement on a global ban.

“Working with other organisations, we will aim for an ‘Annex A’ Listing, with no exemptions, which would in effect be the global ban we are seeking,” ​said Williams.

Endosulfan use

Endosulfan is an insecticide that has previously been used worldwide to protect crops such as cocoa and also cotton, soybean, coffee, corn, rice and tea.

However, EJF claims that Endosulfan is “poisonous to most living organisms”​and that its safe use cannot be guaranteed.

According to ICCO, which has informed the cocoa community that the insecticide must not be used, recent changes to legislation in the EU and Japan have concentrated on crop protection practices in cocoa and other commodity crops.

Since September 2008, ICCO said that assessment of the quality of cocoa imported into the EU has included measurement of traces of substances that have been used upstream in the supply chain, including pesticides used on farms or in storage.

“The crop protection activities of farmers and middlemen are thus of increasing concern to all in the cocoa trade,” ​said ICCO .

Organic alternatives

Williams said EJF currently aims to encourage more alternative and sustainable agriculture practices such as mulching, hand-picking of harmful insects, encouraging predators and ‘companion planting’ that offer natural alternatives to chemical pesticides.

“There are alternative chemical pesticides available too, but resistance, financial cost and associated health issues mean that increasing numbers of farmers are choosing to move to organic, rather than replace Endosulfan with another pesticide,”​ she explained.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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