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EFSA: Annual Report on Pesticide Residues

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

EFSA has published the 2008 Annual Report on Pesticide Residues according to Article 32 of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005. The report gives an overview of the control activities performed by EU Member States and EFSA countries in order to ensure compliance of food with the standards defined in European legislation on pesticide residues. 2008 was an important year for the harmonisation of the Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for pesticides at European level. Whereas before 1 September 2008 a mixed system with harmonised Community MRLs for ca. 250 active substances and national MRLs for the remaining substances was in place, after this date harmonised MRLs became applicable for all active substances used in plant protection products that have the potential to enter the food chain.

A total number of 11,610 samples of nine different commodities (oranges, mandarins, pears, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, spinach, beans without pods, and rice) were taken in the 2008 EU coordinated pesticide monitoring programme. These samples should be analysed for 78 pesticides (including the relevant metabolites, as specified in the legal residue definition).  2.2 % of the samples exceeded the MRL, while the percentage of samples with measurable residues above the quantification level, but at or below the MRL, was 35.7 %. In 62.1 % of the samples no residues were detected. The overall MRL exceedance rate was comparable with the previous year rate (2.3 %). It is noted that the percentage of samples without measurable residues increased from 52.7 % in 2007 to 62.1 % in 2008. The highest percentage of samples exceeding the MRL was identified for spinach (6.2 %) followed by oranges (3.0 %), rice (2.4 %), cucumbers (2.1 %), mandarins (2.0 %), carrots (1.8 %), pears (1.6 %), beans without pods (0.8 %) and potatoes (0.5 %).


Considering the results of both the national and the EU coordinated programmes (including enforcement samples), the percentage of samples of fruits, vegetables and cereals with multiple residues (i.e. single samples which contain residues of more than one pesticide) has increased over the time, from 15 % in 1997 to 26 % in 2007. In 2008, residues of two or more pesticides were found in 27 % of the analysed samples of fruits, vegetables and cereals. The highest number of different pesticides in a single sample was 26 in 2008 and was recorded for a table grape sample. At EU level no specific MRLs for organic products are established, i.e. the MRLs established for conventionally produced products apply. In 2008, the results of a total of 3,131 samples of organic origin were reported by 22 countries. For organic fruit and vegetables, a lower rate of MRL exceedances (0.9 %) in comparison to conventionally grown fruit and vegetables (3.7 %) was found.




Food Quality


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