French Winemakers Face Prosecution for Not Using Pesticides

France’s Ministry of Agriculture is prosecuting organic winemakers who refuse to use pesticides. The New York Times reports that a producer in Burgundy is facing six months in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros for failure to apply pyrethrin pesticide, which he argues would kill good bacteria on vines that show no sign of infection. French law requires preemptive pesticide treatment in several winegrowing regions and refusal to participate is deemed counterproductive in the larger transition to sustainable agricultural practices across the nation. There has been marked progress in the past few years as, “The share of organically produced French wines rose from 2.6 percent in 2007 to 8.2 percent by the end of 2012.” Still, traces of pesticides were found in 90 percent of French wines earlier this year, including some organic wines that were contaminated by neighboring vineyards. France plans to cut pesticide use by 50 percent by 2018. [New York Times]