While Italy observed its first Bio-Domenica (Organic Sunday) on 7 October, studies showed that 2 kilos of pesticides are "consumed" by each person every year, but the shift toward organically production is gaining speed.

Environmentalist group Legambiente announced that agriculture uses 100,000 tons of pesticides every year, chemical material that does not disappear but instead reaches the table particularly in fruits and vegetables. From 1 kilo of pesticides, only 10g will be absorbed by insects, say environmentalists, while the rest remains on food products. Another study shows that of 1.7m tons of fertilisers, two thirds remain reach food products, while 40% of fruits and vegetables are contaminated.

According to a study by producer group Coldiretti, however, 80% of Italian fruits, vegetables and cereals do not contain traces of pesticides residues, the highest pesticide-free rate in Europe (Germany 62%, UK 63%, France 50% and the Netherlands 35%).

Meanwhile, the organic farming movement is strong in Italy, accounting for 1m ha of land (a third of that organically farmed in the EU).

Bio-Domenica was observed throughout Italy with shows, demonstrations and offerings of free organically produced food.

By Hilmi Toros, just-food.com correspondent