Innocent and industry prepared for pesticide-law pains

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soft drinks Soft drink

European soft drink makers say they are not expecting significant upheaval in their operations amidst European Parliament support for stricter regulations on the use of pesticides for fruit and other crops sourced in their goods.

Groups such as fruit smoothie maker Innocent says that while it will review its standards in compliance for potential law changes, it was already working to reduce its reliance on such chemicals.

The claims come as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour on Tuesday of a new deal outlining pesticides legislation, which has been derided by farmers claiming it will setback agricultural production in the bloc.

Despite agricultural fears, the Union of European Beverages Associations (UNESDA) said that like with Innocent, its members would support the new regulatory framework. However, the association claimed that its focus on pesticides was not a new development.

A spokesperson for the group said UNEDSA had been working with crop suppliers to ensure compliance with health and safety standards and that its work was part of an ongoing focus in the bloc. As such, the association said it expected some issues for agricultural producers, but did not oppose any changes.

Pesticides study

Though not related directly with the review, just last month research from Spain was published suggesting that ‘relatively high’ levels of pesticides were being found in a number of soft drinks products from juices to major branded beverages.

The research published in the journal Analytical Chemistry called on manufacturers of fruit-based soft drinks to​ rethink how they are producing such beverages to reduce the presence of pesticides.

However, the soft drinks industry continues to play down any potential safety concern stressing that there is no danger to consumers from the products.

The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA), which represents one of the country’s singled out by the Spanish research as having high pesticides levels in its products, said strict chemical controls were already in place before the new laws were passed.

“This proposed new law would not alter the fact that the beverages the industry produces are safe to drink,”​ stated a spokesperson for the group.

Innocent guides

Looking at the wider challenges facing the industry, Innocent said that it had long been focused on screening pesticides within its ingredients to prevent the presence of excess chemicals in the finished product.

To ensure it was meeting its safety requirements, a spokesperson for the group told that clear guidelines were given to all suppliers on how pesticides should be used and managed.

We also continually drive the reduction in the use of pesticides wherever possible,”​ stated the spokesperson.

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