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48% of British foods contain pesticide residue

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A report analysing 3,448 samples of British produce has found traces of pesticides on 48 per cent of them. The data was released by the Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF) as part of their annual report. PRiF tested the samples of 41 different food types, finding residues in 47.86 per cent of them – with 3.22 per cent registering above the maximum recommended level (MRL).

388 pesticides in fruit and vegetables

Food from outside the UK proved to be more likely to contain traces of pesticides with 53.46 per cent of the 1,719 samples testing positive. Of the 1,729 food products from inside the UK, that figure stood at 42.26 per cent. Though there has been an increase in the prevalence of pesticide residue since 2015, when it was at 42.86 per cent positive and 2.79 per cent above the MRL, there has also been a change in the pesticides tested for, reported In 2015, PRiF analysed 3,614 samples for 388 pesticides in fruit and vegetables, 73 in animal products, 346 in starchy foods and grains, 353 in infant foods and 346 in other groceries. The analysis of breakfast cereals showed 93 per cent of samples to contain at least one, and 65 per cent showed traces of more than one. In grapes, 95 per cent tested positive and 83 per cent had come into contact with more than one pesticide.

Officials explain in the report: “MRLs are set in law at the highest level of pesticide that the relevant regulatory body would expect to find in that crop when it has been treated in line with good agricultural practice (GAP). When MRLs are set, effects of the residue on human health are also considered. The MRLs are set at a level where consumption of food containing that residue should not cause harm to consumers.

But there are a couple of products that frequently exceeded the MRL included: buffalo, ewe and goat cheese (11 per cent); rye four (21 per cent); beans with pods (24 per cent); and okra (26 per cent).


Great Britain

Food Quality


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