Investigation into fungicide grape damage launched

Pharmaceutical giant Bayer has warned grape growers against using its popular fungicide brand Moon Privilege after reports that it has severely damaged crops.

Botrytis-affected Riesling grapes (Photo: Wiki)

Botrytis-affected Riesling grapes (Photo: Wiki)

Claims that the product – also known as Lunar Privilege in some markets – caused “atypical symptoms” in vines have been reported across Europe in five countries, a statement on the company’s website said.

Bayer’s CropScience arm has now launched an investigation, and has been contacting winemakers and grape growers to tell them to refrain from using the product “as a precaution”.

Bayer said that external experts have also been drafted in to assess the claims.

Along with the CropScience team they have so-far revealed that the fungicide is “possibly the cause of the abnormal growth”, according to the statement, published in German, French and Italian.

Bayer CropScience intents to clarify the facts in time for the next growing season”, it claimed.

Some Swiss wine grape growers claim that the fungicide is responsible for causing the loss of up to 10% of this year’s harvest and are calling for compensation, Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday (6 September).

“The damage will, in any event, be in the three-digit millions (of Swiss francs),” Andreas Meier, a winegrower in northern Switzerland, was quoted in the newspaper as saying.

Bayer CropScience has been contacted by db for comment.

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