Costa Rica is the country which uses the highest amounts of pesticides, per hectare of croplands, in the world. It is also the country from which Sweden mainly imports pineapples. The pesticides used on the Costa Rican plantations often contain substances that are carcinogenic and either prohibited or highly regulated in the EU due to their toxicity.
Swedwatch has looked at what requirements, regarding usage of pesticides, five of Sweden’s largest convenience store companies set when it comes to growing the pineapples and mangos they sell. The report examines if the retailers Axfood, Bergendahls, Coop, Ica and Lidl require that the fruit they import live up to EU regulations regarding limits on chemical residue, as well as if national law is adhered to in the country of origin.
The study shows that the requirements set by the Swedish companies are predominantly aimed at protecting the health and safety of the Swedish consumers, not the plantation workers. The workers and farmers interviewed by Swedwatch in Costa Rica attest to how they and their direct environment is affected by health issues caused by the continuous usage of pesticides on the plantations. The employees on the pineapples plantations in Costa Rica, and the local communities, suffer from dizziness, headaches, nausea and rashes. The chemicals have also adversely affected the environment and caused a decrease of fish and animal life in the area.