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Pesticide residues in food – latest monitoring reports

11 March 2019

The Pesticides Residues in Food Expert Committee has published its report for the UK pesticides residues monitoring programme, covering quarter 3 of 2018.

The programme surveyed 933 samples of 29 different foods.

Seventy-four of the samples contained residues above the legal Maximum Residue Level. These results were found in beans with pods, beef, berries, soft cheese, Chinese cabbage, frozen fruits and smoothie mixes, game, ginger, grapes, cereal based infant food, lentils, melon, okra, peppers, potatoes and vine leaves.

Many of the exceedances were for chlorate residues and the Committee commented that it did not think that the findings in cheese, frozen fruits and smoothie mixes and melon should be treated as breaches of the legislation. The Committee goes further to state: “Our findings are adding to the evidence that current legal limits are not sufficient to allow for the essential use of disinfectants to protect food and water hygiene.”

In most cases the presence of the residues found would be unlikely to have had any effect on the health of the people who ate the food. In the case of soft citrus and grapefruit, residues were found in some samples where short-lived effects were possible if people ate all of the peel as well as the flesh, but not when the fruit was peeled before eating.

The following samples of fresh produce had residues above the MRL:

Beans with pods – Valor beans from Kenya; three samples of guar beans from India; uri dolols beans and two samples of yard long beans from Malaysia.

Berries – Three samples of fresh blueberries from Ukraine and one sample from the USA.

Chinese cabbage – one sample of Pak Choi from the UK

Ginger – five samples from China

Grape – one sample from Chile

Melon – one sample from Spain

Okra – three samples from India and two samples from Jordan

Peppers – one sample from Poland

Potatoes – one sample from Germany

Vine leaves – 2 samples from Germany; one sample from Turkey; one sample from Greece; two samples from Egypt; one sample from Romania; one sample from Bulgaria; and two samples from the UK.

For more details see the PRiF report.

 

Rolling reporting

In addition, PRiF has published the findings from its rolling reporting for October 2018 samples

Beans with pods – three samples from India containing:

  • residue of dimethoate (sum) 0.02 (MRL = 0.01);
  • residues of fipronil (sum) 0.01 (MRL = 0.005) and monocroptophos 0.2 (M<RL = 0.01);
  • phosphamidon 0.04 (MRL 0.01).

The risk assessment screen identified that the residue detected by the laboratory would not be expected to have an effect on health.

Grapes

None of the residues detected by the laboratory would be expected to have an effect on health.

Okra

One sample from India contained residues of flonicamip (sum) 0.1 (MRL = 0.03) and tebuconazole 0.03 (MRL = 0.02.

The risk assessment screen identified that the residue detected by the laboratory would not be expected to have an effect on health.

Potatoes

None of the residues detected by the laboratory would be expected to have an effect on health.

 

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