The 2018 European Union report on pesticide residues in food
Under EU legislation (Article 32, Regulation (EC) No 396/2005), EFSA provides an annual report which analyses pesticide residue levels in foods on the European market. The analysis is based on data from the official national control activities carried out by EU Member States, Iceland and Norway and includes a subset of data from the EU‐coordinated control programme which uses a randomised sampling strategy. For 2018, 95.5% of the overall 91,015 samples analysed fell below the maximum residue level (MRL), 4.5% exceeded this level, of which 2.7% were non‐compliant, i.e. samples exceeding the MRL after taking into account the measurement uncertainty. For the subset of 11,679 samples analysed as part of the EU‐coordinated control programme, 1.4% exceeded the MRL and 0.9% were non‐compliant. Table grapes and sweet peppers/bell peppers were among the food products that most frequently exceeded the MRLs. To assess acute and chronic risk to consumer health, dietary exposure to pesticide residues was estimated and compared with health‐based guidance values. The findings suggest that the assessed levels for the food commodities analysed are unlikely to pose concern for consumer health. However, a number of recommendations are proposed to increase the efficiency of European control systems (e.g. optimising traceability), thereby continuing to ensure a high level of consumer protection.
This publication is linked to the following EFSA Supporting Publications article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/sp.efsa.2020.EN-1814/full