Update on pesticide residues monitoring in the EU

May 06, 2020

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has published its latest report on pesticide residues in food, finding that 95.5% of food samples tested in 2018 fell below permitted maximum residue levels. While the Covid-19 pandemic may be impacting testing carried out in 2020, continuing to test remains important.

The 2018 European Union report on pesticide residues in food

Each year, European member states are required to provide data on pesticide residues found in foods as part of the EU’s coordinated survey of food samples. The samples are a mixture of randomly selected commodity foods, and those with known previous non-compliance issues.

EFSA’s latest report on pesticide residues in food found that for 2018, 95.5% of all food samples tested fell below permitted maximum levels. For the samples randomly selected as part of the EU-coordinated control program, 98.6% were within permitted levels. A dietary risk assessment carried out on this data suggests that the foodstuffs analysed in 2018 are highly unlikely to pose a concern for consumer health.

The report continues to provide critical information for risk managers as reassurance when deciding on appropriate control measures. Several recommendations are also proposed to ensure a continued high level of consumer protection, for example optimising traceability.

Follow the link to read the full EFSA report: The 2018 European Union report on pesticide residues in food

Impact of Covid-19 on pesticide residues monitoring

Looking forward, some EU member state authorities have expressed concern about their capacity to carry out food residue tests in 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The European Commission has therefore agreed to relax some of the rules around food residue testing until the June 1, 2020.

Up to June 1, testing can be carried out in any suitable equipped laboratory, rather than only those which have been officially accredited. Temporary amendments have been made to Regulation EC No. (396/2005) and No. (1107/2009) to accommodate this change.

How TSG can help

It is vital for the pesticides industry to work together with member state authorities to ensure that appropriate control measures for consumer residues exposure are in place. TSG can help with all aspects of MRL compliance, from study management to dossier preparation and liaising with regulating authorities.

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