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French group warns against "use orphans"

Regulatory restrictions within the EU are leading to "use orphans" among fruit and vegetable crops in the absence of approved pesticides, says a French fruit and vegetables collective. Even though use exceptions for unregistered pesticides help in urgent situations, they are only short-term solutions for a profession already experiencing a reduction of available pesticides, it says. Pesticide use in France has fallen 37% since 2005 to 63,000 metric tons in 2010. The collective stresses that use exceptions affect only about 1% of farmland in France and are in strict compliance with maximum residue limits set by the EU, posing no risks to the health of farmers, consumers or the environment. A study by the French fruit and vegetable growers' organization, ForumPhyto, last year estimated economic losses in France from orphan minor crops to be up to 6,000 euros ($8,530 at the current rate) per hectare.

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