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Pesticide residues in food – UK monitoring programme

Pesticide residues in food – UK monitoring programme

22 Jun 2020

The Pesticides Residues in Food Expert Committee has published the findings of its monitoring programme for Quarter 4 of 2019.

PRiF surveyed 963 samples of 29 different foods, including: apples beans with pods, cabbage, chilli peppers, grapes, lemons, lettuce, okra, peaches and nectarines, peppers, plums, potatoes, pre-packed salad, spinach, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Residues above the legal Maximum Residue Level were found in 82 of the samples across beans with pods, cheese, chilli peppers, okra, potatoes, prepacked salad, rice, spinach and tomatoes.

Beans with pods: 6 samples from India

Chilli peppers: 3 samples – 1 each from Gambia, Dominican Republic, Turkey

Okra: 3 samples – 2 from Honduras, 1 from Jordan

Potatoes: 2 samples from the UK

Pre-packed salad leaves: 44 samples – 38 from UK, 1 France, 1 Spain, 2 EU, 2 Italy

Spinach: 7 samples (of which 5 were fresh: 1 UK; 2 Spain; 2 Italy) – all chlorate

Tomatoes: one sample from Morocco.

Many of the exceedances were for chlorate findings and the Committee states in its report that it has not treated chlorate residues in cheese, pre-prepared salad leaves and spinach as breaches of the legislation.

The reports comments: ‘We have identified some residues of interest in two samples of speciality beans containing either omethoate or monocrotophos. Based on the full risk assessment performed on both samples, we consider any effect on health unlikely at the levels of exposure anticipated. However, in both cases findings are undesirable due to the concerns for possible genotoxicity. These findings led to the issuing of a European information notification through the EC’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF).'

For more information see the Q4 2019 report.

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