A report yesterday talked about the need to take an urge urgent action on the scandalous pesticide alarm and scare in South Africa. But are other African countries not a victim of dsame, as they wallow in self imposed poverty ?
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Haidee Swanby <>
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Press Release: UnPoison Publishes South Africa’s List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides and Calls on South African Government to Take Urgent Action

Monday 21 August 2023

UnPoison, a South African non-profit organization and civil society network working to protect public health from the harms of highly hazardous pesticides commonly used in South Africa while promoting the development of a biological solutions sector for agriculture, has just published the first publicly available list of Highly Hazardous Pesticides. Information like this is not freely available to the public because the national database of registered agrochemicals is housed and maintained privately by the pesticide industry. There is a lot for South Africans to be concerned about!

Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) are pesticides that have been identified as posing a high and unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. They are typically characterized by their acute toxicity, their potential to cause chronic health effects, or their persistence in the environment and are commonly highly restricted or banned in other regions for this reason.

Unpoison’s list, developed and categorised in accordance with the 8 criteria developed by the FAO/WHO Joint Meeting on Pesticide Management (a UN advisory body on the lifecycle management of pesticides in agriculture and public health) shows that there are 192 Highly Hazardous Pesticides registered and legally in use – only 16 of which have partial bans or restrictions. Of these over a third (57/192) are banned in the EU (because of unacceptable human health and environmental risks), and 36 of which belong to the most hazardous class, a class known as WHO Group 1a and 1b which are substances known to have carcinogenic potential for humans, based on human health evidence, and in acute poisonings can cause death. .

Examples of highly hazardous pesticides in this class still legally registered and used in South Africa include:

Carbofuran – is a pesticide used on many crops and is toxic by inhalation, or dermal absorption. Farmers and farmworkers are most at risk as it is an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) and reproductive and developmental toxicant. It is also highly toxic to aquatic organisms.

Mevinphos – exposure can result in long term neurological effects, it is also a ground water contaminant and farmworkers and farmers are at great exposure risk as it is also a endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC).

Terbufos – is an agricultural insecticide with neurotoxic effects that is often sold as a street pesticide in South Africa, (a pesticide that is decanted and sold for use in informal markets without the correct label or warnings).Children and adolescents are the most vulnerable group and high incidences of poisonings are recorded every year.


As early as2008 the WHO and FAO recommended that this class of highly hazardous chemicals be eliminated from use world wide, yet fifteen years later, South Africa is still legally using these chemicals on our food and in our environment.

In April 2022, UnPoison welcomed a notice by the Registrar of Act 36 who regulates the use and registration of agrochemicals in South Africa, stating his intention to phase out this group of highly hazardous chemicals (WHO 1a and 1b) by June 2024. However, UnPoison found the vagueness of this notice problematic as it did not include the list of chemicals nor a detailed plan with a timeframe to phase the chemicals out.

Subsequently, the list of highly hazardous chemicals circulated by the Registrar (proposed for banning) is worryingly deficient as it is a very different list to the 36 chemicals that actually are classified as WHO group 1a and 1b chemicals registered and in use in South Africa. Of the 29 chemicals on the Registrar’s list, only 4 actually fall into criteria 1 WHO group 1a & 1b, which means that 32 of the 36 WHO 1a and 1b highly hazardous pesticides are not included in his proposed ban list. This is contrary to the intention of his notice (to safeguard human health and the environment) and South Africans should be questioning how this list was developed and who was involved in the process.

This topic is especially relevant in light of the candid media briefing last Friday 12 August to the South African government by the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and Toxics, Marcos Orellana who brought urgent issues to light, after meeting extensively with members of the UnPoison Network and others.

“During my visit to the Western Cape province, I heard from women farm workers who were routinely exposed to hazardous pesticides and who denounced serious adverse health impacts in their communities,” said Orellana, “ I also learned that pesticides meant for agricultural use are illegally sold and used to combat rampant rat and cockroach pest infestations that spread in the absence of sanitation services in informal settlements. I was appalled to learn of the many children who were poisoned or died from eating, drinking or handling hazardous pesticides.”

“Despite the scientific evidence on their harms and the fact that they cannot be safely used, many highly hazardous pesticides are still legal and in use in South Africa,”….. “Accordingly, South Africa should ban the import of all highly hazardous pesticides, including those that have been banned for use in their country of origin, without delay.”

Additional Highly Hazardous Pesticides used widely in South Africa from other hazard categories that have many groups concerned include:

Paraquat: Mentioned by the Special Rapporteur in his media briefing, is a herbicide used to control weeds, it is highly toxic to humans and can cause death even with limited exposures. There are a number of organizations that are calling for a ban on the use of paraquat, including Women on Farms Project whose members as women farm-workers are frequently exposed and many poisonings have resulted.

Atrazine: An herbicide used to control weeds in crops. It has contaminated most water sources in South Africa, is a suspected carcinogen and can also cause reproductive problems.

2,4D which the African Centre For Biodiversity has long been campaigning against is used to grow GMO corn which makes up more than 80% of South Africa’s maize. According to their 2017 report “it is a war chemical that has long been linked to wide-ranging serious illnesses including cancers, birth defects, reproductive toxicity and disruption of endocrine systems.”

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The issue of Highly Hazardous pesticides was just one of the many “toxics and human rights” issues that members of UnPoison brought before the Special Rapporteur in a full day of consultation, and the network welcomed the inclusion of these issues in his preliminary report which included:

South Africa’s weak, outdated, and fragmented legal framework, specifically the Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act 36 of 1947, an apartheid era law. The 2010 Pesticide Management Policy has not been implemented and would go a long way to address the issues that cause harm to countless South Africans, contaminate our scarce water sources and fragile environment.
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Double Standards for EU Export – chemicals manufactured by countries in the EU but banned for use on their own soil and food, yet exported to South Africa and permitted on our local produce.

There is no publicly available database of registered chemicals in South Africa. The national registry is housed privately by Agri-intel, a subsidiary of Croplife, and can only be accessed on approval, for a fee, and by members who have to pay a percentage of their annual turnover in fees. Unpoison calls on DALRRD to make the database and un-sensitive details of the chemical registrations publicly accessible.

Pesticide poisonings which are grossly under-reported due to fear of job loss or loss of income by farm-workers as well as an inadequate reporting process for poisonings or knowledge thereof by health practitioners and the general public. Woman on Farms released a chilling video sharing the stories of victims which you can watch here.

Pesticide spraying on farms and how this is regulated, including spray drift into surrounding areas and non-target zones.

A hindered and unnecessary process for the registration of biological solutions which has scuppered the sector from growing.

Lack of support for alternative farming and pest control methods by DALRRD. The department has no expertise to support farmers wanting to farm with alternative methods and has not implemented many excellent agro ecology policies in its department that have been gathering dust for more than 10 years. These include the draft Agroecology Strategy and the Organic Policy.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests that we have crossed a tipping point for chemical contamination of Earth’s natural systems. This means that the levels of chemicals in the environment have reached a point where they are causing irreversible damage to ecosystems and human health.

The UnPoison network made up of nearly 60 organisations and experts including academic institutions, NGOs, lawyers, doctors, toxicologists, scientists, farmers, farmworkers associations, industry bodies, agronomists, activists, and community representatives from affected farm town residents, call on the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural development to urgently address the issues being raised. The network has extended and continues to extend offers of support to work with the South African government and other stakeholders to help develop an alternative food system, phase out the use of toxic chemicals starting with Highly Hazardous Pesticides, and to promote the emergence of a new local biological solutions manufacturing sector that could radically boost the agricultural sector’s economy and ensure its resilience in the face of climate change and unsustainable, imported fossil fuel based chemicals, with their associated rising costs and risks.

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UnPoison is an NPO that does advocacy, research, and public awareness, as well as coordinate a national multisector network of almost 60 organisations and experts including academic institutions, NGOs, lawyers, doctors, toxicologists, scientists, farmers, farmworkers and their associations, agronomists, activists, and affected farm town residents.

For more information contact Anna Shevel, Network Coordinator on 0828208735 –

sion on the web, visit

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Dele Fapohunda
234 8033709492

Pesticides and Food safety in Africa – A review



African countries have experienced rejects and other forms of embarrassment in international trade from the importing countries of their agricultural produce based on the presence of pesticides at levels above the set global limits. Not a few of the infractions were a result of incorrect ways of pesticide application and the nature of the chemical structure. This leaves open a window of biological alternatives which this review article seems to explore.


Keywords: pesticides, food security, human health, green,  africa



With an annual growth rate of 1.2%, the world population is estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050 (Godfray et al., 2010 and Carvalho, 2006). United Nations (UN) estimates, indicate that 95% of this increase in world population will occur in the developing countries and regions such as sub-Saharan Africa (UN 2001, 2005), hence the need to step-up food production through increase in agricultural productivity. In Africa, crop losses caused by pests and diseases are two major barriers to increase in agricultural produce. This has led to the overzealous application of agrochemicals or pesticides to farm crops and this in turn has brought its own set of problems both to the farmers and the environment (Nnamonu and Onekutu, 2015). Pesticides are chemical substances used to kill, repel or control pests or used to prevent the damage the pests may cause. They are commonly used to control a variety of agricultural pests that are likely to damage farm crops and livestock, leading to a substantial reduction in farm productivity. Initially, with little insight into the long term effect, pesticides use seemed to be a success, until the incidence of resistance. Hitherto, easily controlled pests became uncontrollable leading to application of higher amounts to ensure effectiveness. agriculture, pest infestation have been identified as a major threat worldwide and a source of crop diseases and losses (Cook, 2017). The first record of the use of insecticides was 4,500 years ago, when sulphur was used by the Sumerians to control insects and mites.  Other chemicals and heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, tar, copper, sulphate, and lime have been used to prevent pests and protect crops. By 1940, Sodium Chlorate and Sulphuric acid were in use and in the late 1940s synthetic pesticides such as DDT, BHC, Aldrin, Dieldrin, Endrin, Chlordane, Parathion, Captan, and 2,4 –D were developed and widely used. These new products were cheap, effective and generally accepted. However, in 1962, the problems and danger of the indiscriminate use of pesticides to the environment was highlighted. Even when many African countries are familiar with, and possibly signatories to many global initiatives like FAO code of conduct on distribution and use of pesticides, Codex, Cartagena Protocol, Montreal Protocol, Stockholm convention, needless application leading to environmental pollution and the concerns about health of living organisms still subsists. Reasons for these include inadequate expertise(Sithole and Sauyama, 2003) conscious use of obsolete pesticides(Shiyelekeni, 2000) and different monitoring capacities that vary from one location to another (Mutengwe et al., 2016). In South Africa, according to Mutengwe et al 2016, the implicated pesticides that exceeded established MRLs were imazalil (37.71%), prochloraz (28.69%), and iprodione (5.74%). The unregistered pesticide most often found on grapes and avocados was also imazalil (62.23%) and, on nectarines and avocados,diphenylamine (11.15%) and the exceedances of MRL values involved oranges (43.44%), avocados (27.87%),grapefruits (7.38%), and lemons (6.56%).



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When a compound is applied to wipe out or control the multiplication of microbes in food or other matrices, the real  intention  is to attack the microbial enzymes, other proteins, the cell wall and other structures in the cytoplasm . Other targets may also be affected as the agent does its destructive duty.

Some factors ,may affect the effectiveness of the cidal agent. These include

1 Toxicity=This measures the power of elimination as captured in the compound. Sometimes the choice will reflect the possible toxicity on the human and environment. If the germicide is too dangerous to the extent of killing the human cells at the same rate it does microbial cells, then this is not to be chosen as an attractive intervention

2 Compatibility=This assesses the function of the agent with respect to the matrix.  Disinfectant or sterilant . One disinfectant that is good for canned food may not be compatible with hard surfaces like glass

3 Presence of organic matter in the surrounding. Sometimes the agent may be weakened by the presence of other matter. This must be taken into consideration when making a choice

4 Environmental safety. If the chemical is very dangerous through inhalation or touch by humans, there may a second thought when making a decision. Its no use endangering the environment, even when the microbe is being killed to stop food degradation

  1. Residual content. Every chemical is eventually expected to break down in to residues. For a germicide to qualify for choice, its residue must also be safe to the substrate
  2. Cost and availability. When an intervention, is beyond the reach of the end users, or not easily available, then it should not be chosen. Pocket friendly and readily available options are always attractive


Among the various classes of microbicides, there are

Alcohols, Halogens(e.g chlorine), Ethylene oxides, aldehydes , metal compounds like silver,  mercury and  copper salts, ozone and  Hydrogen peroxide

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To all our READERS

We appreciate YOU. We celebrate YOU. We are here because you are there. For this, please accept our appreciation for reading our posts. Kindly send us materials like Notices  of Conferences, Seminars, Trade Fairs, International Vacancies,  Awards etc . Of course you all know that such MUST be in the area of FOOD SAFETY.


Keep your environment safe. KEEP your Food safe, this season. We cannot afford your stay in the hospital new year due to food borne morbidities


Finally please give us your advice and any other comment. We may even get them published


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At your service, always


Dele Fapohunda PhD


21 December, 2022


In carrying out food testing to arrive at ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’, sampling must be done. It is the amount of effort deployed in sampling and sample preparation that determines the reliability of test result. False positive or false negative  may be arrived at if sampling is not properly done. This may lead to loss of money invested in the production and integrity/good will. The latter may not easily be recovered over time

Samples must be Representative I e  Ensuring homogeneity

Ensuring relative size of sample to be taken

Reliability and intended use of expected result

The data got may be applied in the following

A labelling requirement

B assurance of compliance with stated standards

C monitoring production as part of HACCP

D routine quality control




Dele Fapohunda

10 December, 2022


A systematic preventive scheme to food safety. It also applies to pharmaceuticals,  cosmetics and related products. It is intended to address the physical, chemical and biological hazards. Its goal is to arrive at the best product desired. It is better than inspecting product after operations

It rests on 7 principles

1 Conduct a hazard analysis—identification of possible safety threats

2 Identify Critical Control Points, CCP

3 Establish critical limits for each CCP

4 Establish CCP monitoring requirements, to ensure the process is under control

5 Establish corrective action, to quickly address deviations

6.Establish record keeping procedure

7 Establish procedure for ensuring  the HACCP system is working—-through Validation


The overall implementation involves Monitoring, Verifying and Validation. The steps are contained in ISO 22000



Dele Fapohunda

10 December, 2022



A systematic preventive scheme to food safety. It also applies to pharmaceuticals,  cosmetics and related products. It is intended to address the physical, chemical and biological hazards. Its goal is to arrive at the best product desired. It is better than inspecting product after operations

It rests on 7 principles

1 Conduct a hazard analysis—identification of possible safety threats

2 Identify Critical Control Points, CCP

3 Establish critical limits for each CCP

4 Establish CCP monitoring requirements, to ensure the process is under control

5 Establish corrective action, to quickly address deviations

6.Establish record keeping procedure

7 Establish procedure for ensuring  the HACCP system is working—-through Validation


The overall implementation involves Monitoring, Verifying and Validation. The steps are contained in ISO 22000

Dele Fapohunda

10 Dec 2022


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has released 2 reports on food quality standards.

The need to be sensitive to  antimicrobials  and Veterinary drug residues in Agriculture was emphasized because of their inherent hazardous impacts


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FAO Farmer Field Schools (FFS) have demonstrated that making changes in livestock production practices can lead to prudent antimicrobial use (AMU), and safe food as well as increased profit margins. Results from pilots in Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, and Zimbabwe show that farmers who participated in FAO’s poultry FFS decreased their use of antimicrobials on the farm and increased their efforts in infection prevention and control. The increased use of biosecurity measures, such as footbaths and personal protective equipment, were a result of improved knowledge, more prudent attitudes and practises on AMU. Increased motivation and interaction with animal health professionals were…
FAO, with the kind financial support of the Government of France, is currently convening a regional workshop on food safety risk assessment of residues of veterinary drugs in food in Santiago, Chile on 15 – 17 November 2022.  The workshop is the result of close collaboration between the FAO Food Systems and Food Safety Division and the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.  This subject is of great importance for the region, as countries in this area are key producers and exporters of meat. In this regard, FAO’s Food Safety Officer, Vittorio Fattori, pointed out that “it is…
For more information, please contact the Source
Dele Fapohunda
19 Nov 2022


An international food service company loses the legal battle with chef Jamie Oliver, who proved that the food they sell is not fit to be ingested because it is highly toxic.
Chef  Oliver has won a battle against the world’s largest fast  food chain. Oliver proving how burgers are made.
According to Oliver, the fat parts of meat are “washed” with ammonium hydrogen and then used in the packaging of the meat “cake” to fill the burger. Before this process, according to the presenter, already this meat was not suitable for human consumption.
Oliver, a radical activist chef, who has waged a war against the food industry, says: We’re talking about meat that would be sold as dog food and after this process it’s served to humans. In addition to the quality of meat, ammonium acid is harmful to health. Oliver says this: “The process of the pink crap”.
What sane human being would put a piece of meat soaked in ammonium hydrogen in the mouth of a child?
In another of his initiatives Oliver has demonstrated how chicken nuggets are made: after selecting the “best parts”, the rest: fat, skin, cartilage, visuals, bones, head, legs, are subjected to a mec split smoothie canica – it’s the euphemism that engineers use in food, and then that blood pink paste is deodorant, bleached, re-refreshed and repainted, dipped in flour and fried melcocha, this is left in usually partially hydrogenated oils, that is, toxins.
The food industry uses ammonium hydrogen as an anti-microbial agent, which allowed McDonald’s to use meat in its burgers, which is not suitable for human consumption.
But even more disturbing is the situation that these substances based on ammonium hydrogen are considered ‘lawful components in the production process’ in the food industry with the blessings of health authorities worldwide. So consumers will never be able to discover what substances they put in our food.

Jan 11 2022



Reports , of recent have made a discovery that Parkinson s disease might have a direct link with the consumption of paraquat, a pesticide used in agriculture  and food preservation

Please read on