Several large discounters have set themselves the sustainability goal of minimising the amount of pesticide residues in their products well below the legal limits. In doing so, they are significantly further restricting farmers’ use of chemical herbicides, as the number of different residues is limited to a maximum of 5. For example, the individual quantities per active ingredient may only amount to 33% of the legally permissible value for LIDL.
In addition, such quantity limits are in many cases themselves almost bans on use, as the almost continuous harvesting of adjacent plots of land means that contamination with pesticides by drifting is a very considerable danger.
In addition, the use of substances assessed as “critical” is banned much earlier than legally required, even if no residues can be detected. For example, the herbicides paraquat, linuron and perchlorate have been banned at Lidl since 1 May 2019. Until 1.5.2020, farmers must completely do without diquat (Reglone), chlorpropham and haloxyfop.
Already from 1.5.2021, i.e. approx. 2 years before the generally planned ban on glyphosate, all LIDL contract farmers must work without it.
It is likely that other discounters as well as chains such as EDEKA and REWE will follow suit. ALDI’s market power, e.g. in the wine sector, can also lead to a rapid and massive increase in the need to replace purely chemical herbicides as a result of purely corporate decisions.
Discounters with a high public exposure will have to pay particular attention to the fact that they rely on verifiable sustainable replacement solutions. They must not implement short-term residue minimisation at the expense of climate protection or insect diversity, e.g. through more soil cultivation or energy-intensive flaming. Such unsustainable measures would very quickly develop into undesirable marketing disasters within the framework of the expert public.