A STUDY of wines sold in the EU, including a number from France, were found to contain a range of pesticides, with one bottle from the sample containing ten different varieties.
Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe), a pressure group featuring members from France, Austria and Germany, tested 40 bottles of wine that people could buy off the shelves, including some high end varieties.
On average each bottle contained four different pesticides, with their analysis showing 24 different pesticide contaminants, including five classified as being carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic or endocrine disrupting by the European Union.
Elliott Cannell, of PAN Europe, said: "The presence of pesticides in European wines is a growing problem. Many grape farmers are abandoning traditional methods of pest control in favour of using hazardous synthetic pesticides.
"This trend has a direct impact on the quality of European wines. In two thirds of cases the pesticide residues identified in this study relate to chemicals only recently adopted into mainstream grape production in the EU."
The most widespread pesticide contaminant was pyrimethanil, a possible carcinogen, which was detected in 25 bottles of conventional wine – almost 75 per cent of all conventional samples analysed.
Six bottles of organic wine were also tested, five of which contained no detectable pesticide residues, only one contained traces of pesticides, at low levels and probably because of such chemicals in neighbouring plots.
PAN Europe claims the results provide a clear proof of principle that pesticide free wine production is possible where no synthetic pesticides are applied to grapes, and are calling on EU politicians and retailers to help eliminate hazardous pesticides from the food chain.