DDT use won't affect food imports to EU

Staff Writers | 29 Nov 2006
The Guardian

The use of toxic DDT and other pesticide chemicals in the fight against malaria will not affect Tanzanian food products exported to European markets, the European Union has said.

A statement issued yesterday by EU said DDT was not a problem in relation to food exports from Tanzania; as it was confident that appropriate controls would be put in place to ensure that the chemical was used to combat malaria without risk to food safety.

It added that the EU had been strongly criticized for putting food safety concerns in relation to DDT ahead of the huge human costs of malaria in Africa.

"These allegations are unfounded because DDT is not a problem to food exports from Tanzania and other African countries to EU," read part of the statement.

The EU said that the detection of DDT above the tolerated levels in food produced for export to the EU would, however, only affect that particular consignment which would have to be withdrawn.

"It would not automatically lead to an export ban. It should be noted that, there have not been any findings of DDT contamination in food products of Tanzania origin and consequently no disruption in trade," the statement added.

EU had in 2001 joined other countries in the world to sign the global Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, where DDT was recognised as potentially toxic substance to humans and the environment.

It was agreed in the Convention that DDT production and its use should be gradually phased out.

The statement said EU member countries through the development cooperation principles defend the right of all nations to set their priorities and prepare their plans within the scope of international agreements.

"We support countries through their budgets and sector strategies, complemented by multilateral and global initiatives.

This includes the use of DDT for public health protection in fighting malaria and other diseases vectors," the statement said.

The World Health Organization is supporting indoor spraying of DDT as a safe and economic method of malaria prevention.

The statement said EU has provided over Euro 400million from its 9th European Development Fund to support poverty alleviation in the country, which includes the implementation of health strategies, including the fight against malaria.

A further Euro 16million had also been given to support various health projects in the country.

The EU has also contributed an additional Euro 44million to the agricultural sector for modernizing agricultural production systems.

The support includes contribution to building capacities of the government to effectively manage the control of pesticides and chemicals, including DDT.