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The 2013 European Union report on pesticide residues in food

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The results of the control activities related to pesticide residues in food carried out in 2013 in the EU Member States, Norway and Iceland (hereafter referred to as reporting countries) are summarised in this report. In total, 80 967 samples of a wide variety of unprocessed raw agricultural commodities and processed food products were analysed for residues of 685 distinct pesticides. A substantial number of samples (8 270) were taken for products from third countries, which are subject to increased import controls under Regulation (EC) No 669/2009. In the framework of the EU-coordinated monitoring programme, which aims to provide statistically representative results for the EU, 11 582 samples of 12 different food commodities were analysed for 209 distinct pesticides. Overall, 97.4 % of the tested food samples fell within the legal limits and 54.6 % of the samples contained no quantifiable residues at all. In general, a higher prevalence of residues exceeding the Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) was observed for products imported from third countries (5.7 % for imported products versus 1.4 % for products produced in reporting countries). The results of the dietary exposure estimations support the conclusion that, in the light of current knowledge, the presence of residues found in the food products covered by the EU-coordinated monitoring programmes was unlikely to have a long-term effect on the health of consumers. The probability of being exposed to pesticide residues in the food products covered by the EU-coordinated programme exceeding the toxicological threshold for short-term exposure that may lead to negative health outcomes was low.