Scotch may rely on French barley

• Jenny Haworth, environment correspondent for The Scotsman newspaper, reports:

"Scottish whisky may have to be distilled from French barley in the future as a result of EU laws banning at least 22 pesticides from fields across Europe, it has been claimed.

"Controversial legislation passed in Brussels yesterday aims to reduce the amount of products deemed harmful to human health or the environment used on crops.

"Supporters argue that the measures, which have been watered down in the past few months to allow the continued use of pesticides for which there is no alternative for up to 10 years, do not go far enough. But critics warn that they could cause crop yields to plummet and food prices to rocket. Some say yields of potatoes, wheat and carrots, which rely on pesticides to ward off diseases associated with the UK's damp conditions, will suffer.

"Struan Stevenson, a Tory MEP for Scotland, said he was 'appalled by the decision' and claimed Scotland would have to import products from warmer countries that had less of a problem with disease."

[Go here for the complete story.]

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