EFSA Report concludes higher pesticide residue compliance rate
Sustainable farming practices key for food safety
The Annual Report on Pesticide Residues 2010 shows that 97.2 % of the samples were within the maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides permitted for food products in the EU and 98.4% for the EU coordinated program. On dietary exposure, EFSA concluded that the chemical residues on the foods analysed did not pose a long-term risk to consumer health and the short-term dietary exposure excluded a risk to consumers from 99.6% of food samples.
"Year after year we see a higher and higher level of compliance with MRLs. This is really good news for European consumers, European farmers and the crop protection industry and demonstrates both the current high-level professionalism of pesticide users and the high level of food safety we have achieved in Europe. Although the overall report results continue to be positive, our industry understands that more can still be done to avoid any MRL exceedances.” – commented Friedhelm Schmider, Director General of the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA).
“For that reason the European crop protection industry is launching a joint-industry project on residues management. Together with local partners, two pilot projects have been established; one focusing on Mediterranean greenhouse production in Spain and the second one on quality of fresh produce imports from outside EU based on a Turkish example” – Schmider continued.
“We want to tackle the issues heads on. The crop protection industry takes consumer’s concerns about pesticide residues and the multiple assessments of residues very seriously. We are committed to explain the nature of pesticide residues whilst striving to manage their occurrence. These two projects aim at helping strengthen education, training and advisory programs to this end. We will continue working with stakeholders in order to improve results further. Consumers trust is a vital ingredient for our work” - concluded Schmider.
MRL (Maximum Residue Level):
MRLS are always set at levels below toxicological safety limits and are at least 100 fold below the lowest dose causing no effects. So exceedances reported do not mean that the food is unsafe to eat, however all efforts must be undertaken to avoid exceedances, also because agricultural produce cannot legally be traded if the MRL is exceeded.