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May 30, 2022 View:

French association spokesman fined 125,000 euros for denouncing pesticide residues in Bordeaux wine bottles

The court in Libourne recently sentenced Valrie Murat, spokesperson for the "Alerte aux Toxins" association, to pay a fine of 125,000 euros for denouncing the presence of pesticide residues in Bordeaux wine bottles.

Image courtesy of: New Europe

What happened was that the association released the results of an analysis of 22 wines from Bordeaux, Champagne and Languedoc that were awarded HVE (High Environmental Value, which in France is the highest of the three levels of environmental certification for farms.) certified wines.

The HVE logo, representing a vineyard bathed in sunlight and surrounded by woods of trees with beautiful butterflies swirling around. This label is placed on certain wines, no doubt to reassure consumers.

In the report issued by the association, the Dubernet laboratory was commissioned, with the approval of Cofarac France, to carry out an analysis that documented the presence of residues of between 4 and 15 active substances per bottle. The laboratory subsequently issued that the presence of fewer residues was considered legitimate because the substances detected (synthetic pesticides, including the well-known CMR) were not prohibited by the HVE label.

But Valrie Murat said: In the 22 bottles tested, all contained endocrine disruptor residues. Some contained some of the most dangerous synthetic pesticides. In total, the association detected the presence of 28 active substances in the target bottles. In particular, trace amounts of neonicotinoids, neurotoxic substances or substances that can easily harm the fetus.

Valrie Murat also said: "This is a misleading practice because it makes consumers think that this wine is better than organic wine.

This statement has sparked much discontent, claiming that it denigrates Bordeaux wines.

Valrie Murat pointed out last Thursday that justice will be done for this wine.

The United Bordeaux Wine Association (CIVB), which opposes her, has suggested that this action is demeaning to Bordeaux wines, with which the region's 25 chateaux, appellations and wine federations are associated.

Tip: Founded in 1948, the Confédération des Vins de Bordeaux (CIVB) is a French interest group representing nearly 10,000 Bordeaux wine producers and growers, as well as 400 wine merchants. It is estimated to be the most important wine industry body in France.

At the subsequent hearing, 12 lawyers from the wine industry took turns pointing out the harm done to the industry by the dissemination of the analysis until the president of the Court of First Instance of Libourne told Valrie Murat that this resistance on your part was a disgrace. In front of them, the defense lawyers had reminded them that wine is the only consumer product that does not have ingredients on its label.

Last Thursday, the Court of Libourne awarded Valrie Murat 125,000 euros in damages against CIVB and the other plaintiffs, taking into account that the defamation was real.

Defamation cannot go unpunished, the court said in a statement.

Informing the ingredients of the product is not denigration, but freedom of expression. valrie Murat replied that she was determined to appeal.

Bernard Angelras, director of the French Institute of Vine and Wine, argued that the label would help support wine growers and wine makers in a progressive way. But Valrie Murat counters: consumers can find quality wines between €5.95 and €33 per bottle, and in any case, to ensure support for viticulture that respects health and the environment, there should be a shift to organic farming, from producers to consumers.