Lidl’s Quality Assurance (QA) department is committed to ensuring the food safety of the products sold in Lidl’s stores. As part of the approach to pesticide reduction, Lidl’s QA department established an expert technical committee with leading independent experts and scientific institutes from QA, analysis, agronomy and toxicology backgrounds to research and develop the “Strategic Substance List”. The purpose of this list was to identify and ultimately exclude undesirable active substances and contaminants from being used as part of agricultural production within Lidl’s supply chain.
The Lidl Strategic List of Substances has been developed taking into account several different parameters that influence consumer and environmental protection and species conservation. Important aspects that have been evaluated include the persistence in the environment and the impact on biodiversity. This list includes all the substances from the WHO list 1a/2b and Rotterdam/Stockholm Convention; one of the main aims of the list is to phase out majority of highly hazardous pesticides and pesticides harming pollinators, such as neonicotinoids.
To develop the “Strategic Substance List”, the committee took a scientific approach which defined and prioritised risk parameters. These parameters included consumer protection, user protection and environmental / species protection. For consumer protection, risk parameters included the "Acute Reference Dose" (ARfD), the "Acceptable Daily Intake" (ADI) and the “CMR classes” (i.e. carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic to reproduction) of active ingredients.
The risk parameters for environmental protection considered the degradation and environmental behaviours of active ingredients as evaluated by the expert committee. Species protection focused specifically on the protection of bees, which are regarded by Lidl as critically important pollinators within agricultural production. Lidl therefore considered the impacts of crop protection products on biodiversity.
Lidl GB conducts on average 2815 residue analyses per year, with over 21,000 analyses conducted per year across the wider group. These results inform the approach of the expert technical committee and provide Lidl with a unique and up-to-date overview of the global residue outlook in the production of fresh produce.
Using the risk parameters described above, Lidl’s “Strategic Substance List” prioritises substances for removal in fresh produce. In collaboration with suppliers Lidl is working hard to move towards alternative active substances in its fresh produce supply chains. Implementation periods are agreed with suppliers to allow time to adapt to the new substances and find alternative approaches. Further support is provided from agronomists and crop protection specialists as part of this transition.
The “Strategic Substances List” is under constant review by the expert technical committee and updated as necessary in line with technical and legislative developments. We also encourage feedback from our suppliers to ensure they are part of the process.