Pesticide residue-free trust mark gains traction

Friday March 26 2021 by Vitisphere

 The aim is not to stigmatise conventional farming methods. By opening up a third avenue, the endorsement has proved, even in 2020 and certainly in the future, that zero can be positive. The aim is not to stigmatise conventional farming methods. By opening up a third avenue, the endorsement has proved, even in 2020 and certainly in the future, that zero can be positive. - Photo credit : DR

Launched in 2018, the ‘pesticide residue-free’ endorsement supported by the ‘Nouveaux Champs’ collective of French producers and livestock farmers, has plenty to celebrate. In a recent press release, the group of “committed producers” reported that nearly 30% of the French have become familiar with the endorsement in just three years. The recognition allows this civic trust mark to continue to make headway with consumers.

The endorsement is based on the specifications for HVE certification and is designed as an additional guarantee to organic farming, which is not free of pesticide residues – organic farming does not imply products are residue-free because bio-control products are used. It stems from an ethical approach and involves a so-called “quantification limit”. The limit characterises the level below which the substances are impossible to quantify, unlike the EU, which has set a maximum residue limit (MRL).

Consequently, the civic-inspired endorsement is more demanding, though also less restrictive. Unlike specifications for organic winegrowing, producers can spray in a rainy year or a year with high disease pressure and retrieve the endorsement the following year, as opposed to three years for organic winegrowing.

Nearly 60 firms have made a pledge to the green endorsement – 8 of them are in the wine industry, up from the initial three, and are mostly co-operatives (Vignerons de Buzet, Tutiac, Robert & Marcel). The trust mark is delivering on its promise to boost sales, as borne out by the figures, revealing an increase of 24% in turnover between 2019 and 2020 (mainly in retail outlets). Since it was launched, it has yielded €115 million in cumulative turnover across the product range, and nearly 1 in 4 French households have already purchased a product displaying the endorsement.

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