Officials discovered a “dangerous concentration” of the substance on the fruit during recent food quality checks in the southwestern German state. The levels of amitraz were so high “that possible health risks could no longer be ruled out for small children consuming large amounts,” the Consumer Protection Ministry in Stuttgart said in a statement.
The insecticide, which has not been used in Germany for years, was banned by the European Union in 2008. It can cause sleepiness, disorientation, difficulty speaking, and lower blood pressure when ingested.
Baden-Württemberg’s Consumer Protection Minister Peter Hauk called for “EU-wide import restrictions for pears from Turkey” after the state found amitraz “residues far above the limit” on eight different shipments of Turkish pears. Tests on 37 other batches from Germany, South America, South Africa, Italy and Spain showed no traces of the chemical.
The contaminated fruit was immediately confiscated and destroyed.