Pesticide residue monitoring in 2006


<div>The occurrence of pesticide residues in vegetables, fruit and cereals was at the same level in 2006 as in previous years. A total of 2 024 products were examined for residues. There were 116 samples (5.7 %) exceeding the regulated limits. 75 of them were products from third countries and 41 came from other EU countries. In domestic products no samples exceeding the maximum residue levels were found. </div>

In half of the samples there were small amounts of residues, but the maximum permitted residue levels were seldom exceeded.  

Of the samples, 49 % were found to have pesticide residues. There were residues in 55 % of the fruit and vegetable samples, in 38 % of the grain samples and in 34 % of the samples obtained from processed food. Residues were found in only one out of 25 samples of examined baby foods, and even there the level was below the maximum permitted level. In organic products (106 samples) residues were found in seven products, which consequently lost their status as organic products. 28 % of the domestic products contained residues from pesticides, in products from other EU countries there were residues in 47 % and in products from third countries in 59 %. 

Results for breads, edible oils and wines

Pesticide residues were tested for in 40 breads. 17 of the samples were rye breads, and crispbreads, mixed grain breads, white breads and one organically produced bread were also included. Residues of chlormequat were found in all of the breads. Chlormequat is used on grain to help to minimize crop lodging caused by rain. In addition, residues of pirimiphos-methyl were found in two rye breads. The substance is intended for the control of insect pests in silos. The residue levels do not exceed the maximum permitted residue levels derived from the maximum levels set for grain. The assessed exposure of the consumers using the residue levels in bread does not reach the reference dose limits set for harmful health effects. Based on the risk assessment, the residue levels found do not pose an acute or chronic health risk, even for high consumption consumers.

40 different samples of edible oils were also examined for pesticide residues. Of the samples, 13 were cold pressed oils and one of them was organically produced. Residues were found in two oils only. Fenthion was found in one cold pressed olive oil, and in another cold pressed olive oil residues of terbutylazine, which is used for weed control, was found.

In 2006, residues from 70 wine samples were also examined (58 red and 12 white wines). Of the samples 8 were organic wines. Of the samples, 43 contained pesticide residues, and of these 35 were red wines and 8 white wines. The residue levels found were low, however. No residues were found in the organic wines.

Evira’s publication 20/2007 Pesticide Residue Monitoring in Finland – 2006. Fruit, Vegetables and Cereals can be found on Evira’s Internet pages:

For additional information, please contact:
Senior Food Control Officer, Arja Kaiponen, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24288 (domestic products and breads and edible oils)
Senior Officer Juha Laakso, Evira, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 25189 (risk assessment of breads)
Research Manager Kalevi Siivinen, Customs Laboratory, tel. +358 (0) 2049 23267 (imported products)
Food Control Officer Tiina Paavola, tel. +358 (0)9 310 31590 and Chemist Pirjo Tikkanen, tel. +358 (0) 9 310 31579 City of Helsinki Environment Centre (products examined by the city of Helsinki in its own area)
Senior Officer Satu Räsänen, National Product Control Agency for Welfare and Health, tel. +358 (0) 9 3967 2761 (wines).

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