Are European foods pesticide-free? Annual report on pesticide residues
Every year, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) presents a report on pesticide residues in food on the European market. The data is collected on a sample basis and checked and validated by the EU member states. The figures for 2020 have now been published.
A total of 12,077 conventional and a further 5,783 organic food samples were analyzed and tested for pesticide residues, as part of the EU-coordinated control program. The conventional food samples were within the specified limits in 98.2% of the samples. However, a more detailed breakdown shows that the foodstuffs were by no means free of pesticide residues:
• 8,278 samples (68.5%) were free of quantifiable pesticide residues.
• 3,590 samples (29.7%) contained one or more residues that did not exceed the permissible limits.
• 209 samples (1.7%) contained residues exceeding the legal limit, of which 113 (0.9%) were non-compliant.
For organic foods, 98.5% of the samples scored below the maximum limits:
• 4,632 samples (80.1%) were free of quantifiable pesticide residues.
• 1,064 samples (18.4%) contained quantified residues below or at the maximum residue level.
• 87 samples (1.5%) were reported with residue levels above the MRLs, of which 36 samples (0.6%) were non-compliant.
Residues of Phosmet, Cypermethrin, Dimethoate, or Chlorpyrifos were found in most samples that significantly exceeded the limits. Compared to 2017, the risk to consumers increased in foods such as rice, oranges and pears and decreased in carrots, potatoes and onions. Ensure the safety of your products with an analysis for pesticide residues.
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