Slovakia finds pesticide in Ukrainian grain, bans processing, imports
Illustration via EPA

Slovakia’s agriculture ministry has moved to ban the processing of imported grain from Ukraine and the sale of Ukrainian grain products on the domestic market.

In a statement published on Thursday, the ministry said that the decision was made after traces of the EU-banned pesticide chlorpyrifos, which “has a negative impact on human health”, were found in one of the batches of Ukrainian wheat.

Chlorpyrifos is an active ingredient in broad-spectrum insecticides that are toxic to humans. It is used to treat most crops and as a disinfectant for grain storage facilities.

In 2020, the EU banned the supply of oilseeds and grains, as well as products made from them, containing more than 0.01 mg/kg of chlorpyrifos. Slovakia’s agriculture ministry says that the concentration in samples from Ukraine was almost three times higher, at 0.026 mg/kg.

Accordingly, the ministry recommended that new Ukrainian grain and grain products not be imported “for the time being,” the statement reads.

It adds that Slovakia will inform all EU member states and the Ukrainian ambassador about the analysis, and the issue will be discussed separately by the agriculture ministers of the Visegrad countries, as well as Romania and Bulgaria, at a meeting later on Friday.

Last week, Ukraine pledged to stop exporting grain to Poland due to protests by local farmers. They claim that Ukrainian grain has brought down local grain prices, incurring losses to local producers.

Romanian farmers are also protesting against Ukrainian grain.