EU Issue Health Warning Over Spain’s Imported Olives

Toxic Pesticide Levels Detected In Moroccan Olives In Spain

Stock image of olives. Credit: Elena Veselova/

Spanish farmers and consumers have been dealt a fresh blow as it has recently been revealed that imported olives from Morocco could pose a serious health risk. 

On 18th August, the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) flagged a concerning discovery. Moroccan olives, ready for distribution, were found to contain alarming levels of a non-EU-approved pesticide, according to OK Diario.

Pesticide Levels Raise Concerns

The analysis of these olives revealed pesticide levels at 0.067 mg/kg-ppm, significantly exceeding the Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) of 0.01 mg/kg-ppm. Consequently, the EU has categorised these olives as a ‘serious risk’.

Chlorpyrifos: A Dangerous Chemical

Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide, is commonly used in domestic and agricultural settings. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the USA states it’s primarily used in agriculture to manage pests, especially in citrus fruits.

The Pesticide Action Network describes it as ‘an organophosphate pesticide known for its damaging effects on the human nervous system.’

Sanctions And Repercussions

Farmers in Andalusia have voiced their concerns this summer about the ‘unfair competition’ from the influx of Moroccan fruits and vegetables into the EU market. This ‘fraud’ not only affects the sector but also poses a risk to consumers.

Just this week, the European Commission raised a health alert regarding Moroccan watermelons tainted with unauthorised pesticides. Moreover, the COAG identified melons from the same region in Almeria containing six times the legally permitted toxic products.

The Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers of Andalusia (UPA-A) has made a strong appeal on Wednesday, September 6. They called on public authorities to implement stricter surveillance and, crucially, ‘exemplary’ sanctions. Their aim is to halt the import of substandard agricultural products from third countries.

They highlighted the ‘unfair competition’ and ‘fraud’ that has been ongoing for years. Morocco has been exporting fruits without the necessary ‘sanitary guarantees’ or ‘controls’. Meanwhile, local producers are diligently adhering to all legal protocols.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.