Slovakia destroys 1,500-ton shipment of Ukrainian grain contaminated with EU-banned pesticide

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15th April 2023 – (Bratislava) Slovakia has discovered a 1,500-ton shipment of Ukrainian grain tainted with chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate pesticide that is subject to an EU-wide ban. The country’s agriculture minister, Samuel Vlcan, announced on Thursday that the whole shipment would be destroyed.

The minister had first alerted the public to the issue the previous day, revealing that “traces” of pesticides had been discovered by “three independent certified laboratories” in a major haul of Ukrainian grain being transited through the country. The affected shipment weighed the equivalent of approximately 60 truckloads of produce on average and was discovered before the recently introduced measures to protect the local market, which involve the mandatory sealing of transit trucks.

On Thursday, Vlcan elaborated on the matter, stating that the contamination of the grain was so severe that the entire shipment had to be burned. “Unfortunately, it has been confirmed that it is a dangerous concentration, the substance is chlorpyrifos, which is banned in the European Union,” the minister told JOJ 24 broadcaster. He also pledged to ramp up reviewing products containing grain of Ukrainian origins.

The Ukrainian grain has been in the spotlight amid the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev. Brussels permitted duty-free agricultural imports from the major grain-producing nation last year, purportedly to help it reach its customers in Africa and the Middle East. However, a large part of the exported grain ended up stuck in the EU, particularly in the eastern member states of the bloc.