OPINION

Toxic salads

Greek consumers are little more than defenseless guinea pigs, mere statistics, as they enjoy their fresh vegetables, 33 percent of which, according to official figures, contain traces of pesticides. If it is any consolation, 28 percent contain substances found at acceptable levels. Of course these levels are continually changing, in an attempt to find a balance between the needs of farmers and of public health, according to an excellent report in the newspaper Ta Nea. One example is the pesticide containing the chemical compound endosulphan, for which the upper limit was set in 1996 by the EU at 1 part per million (ppm). Four years later, this was reduced to 0.05 ppm. The vicious circle of intensive farming, aimed at cheapness rather than quality, has led people in the cities to look at food as an industrial product. It is in the capitals of this vain and arrogant culture where decisions are made, in its laboratories where the poisons that will wind up on our plates are produced. Modern science has less toxic alternatives for farmers, even if they are not completely organic. Greece is ideal for this kind of farming. But what is needed is vision and the strength to battle against habits, ignorance and of course the huge yearly turnover of 350 million euros from pesticides and fertilizers. Next time you go shopping, before you ask the price, ask what the produce was sprayed with, and when. It’s a kind of moral pressure that will slowly produce results…