Ökotest tested 20 green Pesto, and without exception, all of the different types of charges were found proven most often to be mineral Oil residues, which are suspected to be carcinogenic. Shockingly often – namely, a 15-Pesto – burden of pesticides, the Italian Pasta sauces out of the jar.

And also plasticizers, among other things, twice the health of highly questionable substance diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), were detected.

Ökotest discourages more than half of the Pesto

No matter, whether at the well-known brands of Pesto Barilla, Bertolli, Mirácoli and Buitoni, Bio-products, such as Alnaturaand the RapunzelPesto or various discounters ‘ own brands – the test result is disappointing.

Nine stars of six, three stars of five, and the two test winners get a "befriedigend".

1. Problem: Mineral Oils

The most commonly found contaminant is mineral oil. Saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons, MOSH (Mineral Oil Saturated Hydrocarbons) and MOAH (Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons), and the eight times in the products.

Although both substances have no direct impact on the health, you can MOSH deposited in the fatty tissues and lead to MOAH possibly even cancer.

The ways in which these Oils enter in the Pesto, are numerous. Lubricating oils in harvesting machines or production facilities, as well as components of pesticides and exhaust fumes are all potential problem sources.

To devote himself to these and to fix them, according to the Ökotest is the duty of the manufacturer.

2. Problem: Pesticides

Only the four Bio-products and Buitoni Pesto Basilico showed no pesticides on.

In all of the other pesticides exceeded the limits according to the EU Directive, but were heaped in a lot of ways combination.

Since interactions between individual pesticides are still largely unexplored, holds Ökotest exactly this for critical.

In addition to the harm to consumers must be in addition, of those considered, of the people involved in the cultivation and harvesting of the Basil, and the Ecosystem in the growing areas by pesticides.

Noteworthy is the discovery of the Insecticide Deltamethrin, which is detrimental to the bee colony considerably.

3. Problem: Plasticizers

Often in the cover, included PVC has been found only in five of Pesto and this was, therefore, the slightest Problem of the pesto brands.

Also from tubes or canisters can be deposited, however, plasticizers in the products.

In two Pesto diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) could be demonstrated, what is considered to be toxic to reproduction.

Bitter taste in the mouth despite the good flavor reviews

Although most of the Pesto were able to convince in terms of taste, leave the results of the Tests, rather with a bitter aftertaste.

That popular brands such as Barilla , and the expensive , Alnatura-Bio-Pesto is also particularly bad sections, should, in addition to thinking.

Here are some of the results at a Glance:

  • Barilla Pesto alla Genovese: very high levels of MOSH, residues of ten different pesticides, including the insecticide Deltamethrin
  • Bertolli Pesto Verde: very high content of MOAH
  • Oro D‘Italia Pesto Verde: seven different pesticides
  • Alnatura Pesto Verde: very high oil content, also contains the plasticizer diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), with grade 6 being punished
  • Rapunzel Pesto Ligure (organic Pesto for 6 Euro) only "mangelhaft"
  • K-Classic Pesto alla Genovese: the country of purchase own brand contains diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
  • Cucina Pesto alla Genovese: Aldi-own brand "ausreichend"
  • Ppura Genovese Pesto: organic Pesto, one of the winner of the test with "befriedigend"
  • Buitoni Pesto Basilico: the second winner of the test

Both the winner of the test contain no pesticides or plasticizers, however, have also increased mineral values.

Conclusion: Pesto henceforth prefer to do it yourself!

The consequence that arises given these results, is to make the green Pesto in the future for yourself.

With an organic Basil Plant for the balcony or the kitchen to avoid exposure to pesticides.

Only pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan and a little salt and pepper is missing to complete the mineral oil, pesticide – free and plasticizer-free Basil Pesto.

Tip: Who’s a bit of Variation in it wants, it can instead of pine nuts also Cashew, hazel or walnuts a try.


  • Ökotest, Nguyen, H. et al. (2020): Pesto-Test: Lots of green Pesto with mineral oil and pesticides loaded, retrieved on 05.06.2020 https://www.oekotest.de/essen-trinken/Pesto-Test-Viele-gruene-Pestos-mit-Mineraloel-und-Pestiziden-belastet_11289_1.html

Kimberly Papenthin

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*The post “Terrifying results for Pesto-Test: 75 percent of the sauces contain pesticides” is published by FitForFun. Contact with the executives here.