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Published in Scientific Papers. Series B, Horticulture, Vol. LXVI, Issue 2
Written by Mária MÖRTL, Roxana CICEOI, Violeta Alexandra ION, Szandra KLÁTYIK, András SZÉKÁCS

Goji berry (Lycium barbarum) and wolfberry (Lycium chinense) became popular nowadays due to their supposed health benefits. Conventionally grown goji berries are often treated extensively with pesticides that led to high levels of pesticide residues in the imported products in Europe and in the USA. Among the insecticides, neonicotinoid type active ingredients have frequently been found in wolfberry products of Chinese origin, which occasionally exceeded the corresponding official maximum residue limit (MRL) values. In addition to imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, much older and obsolete active ingredients have also been detected, e.g. carbofuran. The negative effects of neonicotinoids on pollinators, particularly bees, led to the ban of 3 neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam), whereas acetamiprid is still in use in Europe. Along with the strict EU regulations, legal violations occurred related to pesticide residues in the imported goji berry products, which led to an increase in the level of official control on imports (2018/941) in the EU. Paradoxically, the corresponding MRL (EC 396/2005) e.g. for acetamiprid has been increased.

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