Greenpeace has announced that Aldi, a large retailer in Europe with stores in the U.S., will ban pesticides from produce originating from their markets. The eight chemicals specifically target bee and include thiamethoxam (used in lettuce and endive), chlorpyrifos, clothianidin (used in kohlrabi, herbs, Brussels sprouts, head cabbage, cauliflower and kale), cypermethrin (leek, head cabbage and leguminous vegetables), deltamethrin (cauliflower, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, pea, head cabbage, tomato and lettuce), fipronil (only exceptional authorizations for potato fields), imidacloprid (applied to apples, peaches, apricots and lettuce) and sulfoxaflor.
Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticides that have been associated with an enormous pollinator decline over the last few years due to the unregulated use of these chemicals. Municipalities and cities have taken enormous steps to protect their local environments by implementing a ban on the application of these products to lawns and gardens.
“Aldi Süd shows that the toxic dependency on pesticides can be broken and in this sense becomes a pioneer in the retail sector, said Christiane Huxdorff. “Other European supermarkets are now called upon to follow this first step.”
“Chemical pesticides are present from the field to our plate”, said Huxdorff. “Supermarkets are an important part of the supply chain and have to work on non-chemical solutions together with farmers. This move from a big market actor is also a sign for our politicians. European decision-makers must act now and not only convert the partial ban on three neonicotinoids and fipronil into a full one but broaden its scope to all pesticides threatening our bees.”
Greenpeace evaluated the widespread use of pesticides in fields and plantations, in 2015, and demonstrated that compliance with the minimum legal pesticide requirements is not enough. The organization developed an online platform, supporting ecological farming, (www.Iknowwhogrewit.org), with over 112,000 individual consumer pledges.
In the U.S., Lowes has previously announced the phasing out of bee harming pesticides. Lowe’s is the latest company that has announced steps to halt the sale of these products by phasing out the chemical pesticides by 2019. A 2014 study released by environment group Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute showed that 51 percent of garden plants purchased at Lowe’s, Home Depot and Walmart in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contained neonicotinoid pesticides at levels that could harm or even kill bees.
Last year, BJ’s Wholesale Club, a warehouse retailer said it was asking all of its vendors to provide plants free of neonics by the end of 2014 or to label such products.
Last year, Home Depot, the largest U.S. home improvement chain, also asked its suppliers to start labeling any plants treated with neonics and that it was running tests in several states to see if suppliers can eliminate neonics in their plant production without hurting plant health.