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The 2012 European Union Report on pesticide residues in food

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The report summarises the results of the control activities related to pesticide residues in food carried out in 2012 in the EU Member States, Norway and Iceland (hereafter referred to as reporting countries). A total of 78,390 samples of more than 750 food products were analysed for pesticide residues. A substantial number of samples from third countries (6,472 samples) were taken for products subject to increased import controls under Regulation (EC) No 669/2009. In the framework of the EU-coordinated monitoring programme which is aimed at providing statistically representative results for the EU, 10,235 samples of 12 different food commodities were analysed for 205 different pesticides. Overall, 98.3 % of the tested food samples were compliant with the legal limits; 54.9 % of the samples contained no quantifiable residues at all. In general, a higher prevalence of residues exceeding the Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) was observed for products imported from third countries (7.5 % for imported products versus 1.4 % for products produced in one of the reporting countries). On the basis of the dietary exposure assessment performed for the pesticides covered by the EU-coordinated monitoring programme EFSA concluded that according to the current scientific knowledge, the presence of residues found in food in 2012 was unlikely to have a long-term effect on the health of consumers. In 280 cases of the total of 1,765,663 determinations reported for food products covered by the EU-coordinated programme the residues occurred in concentrations where a potential short-term consumer health outcome could not be excluded if the products were consumed in high quantities.

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