Positive news on pesticide residues
Fresh data from EFSA on pesticide residues in food suggests that exposure levels are on the decrease.
In its Annual Report on Pesticide Residues, the food safety authority says that 96.5% of more than 70,000 samples of different types of food complied with maximum levels permitted by the EU. The remaining 3.5% exceeded legal limits, but this figure was down from 4.2% the previous year.
More pesticide residues exceeding the MRLs were found in food imported from countries outside the European Union (7.6 %) than in samples originating in the EU (2.4 %). According to the results from the EU coordinated pesticides programme, which was designed to collect comparative data for all Member States, the percentage of samples free of pesticide residues has increased in comparison with previous years. In 2008 no pesticide residues were detected in 62.1 % of the samples tested, whereas in the years 2005 to 2007, 52.7 % to 58% of samples did not contain measurable pesticide residues.
Out of 2,062 samples of baby food, 76 contained traces of pesticides and the legal limit was exceeded in only 4 samples (0.2 %). European legislation in this area is very restrictive and allows no more than 0.01 mg/kg of any single pesticide residue.