Pesticide residue survey clears 97% of EU food samples

More than 97% of food samples, including pigmeat products, evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for pesticide residue levels, were shown to fall within the required legal limits, according to the results of a newly published report.

The EFSA survey looked at almost 81,000 food samples from 27 EU member states, plus Iceland and Norway.  Tests were carried out to check for the presence of a total of 685 pesticides.

While the majority of the samples (68.2%) were taken from food originating in Europe, tests were also carried out on the 27.7% of products which were imported from third countries.  This revealed a clear benefit for EU-origin items with only 1.4% exceeding legal limits compared with 5.7% for imported products.

The main EFSA findings were:

  • 97.4% of the samples analysed fell within legal limits,
  • 54.6% were free of detectable residues,
  • 1.5% exceeded the legal limits.

Compared with the results for the previous EFSA survey, carried out in 2010, the percentage of samples exceeding the legal limits for pesticide residue has fallen for all categories.

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