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The 2020 European Union report on pesticide residues in food

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Under European Union legislation (Article 32, Regulation (EC) No 396/2005), the EFSA provides an annual report which examines pesticide residue levels in foods on the European market. This report 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 2020, 94.9% of the overall 88,141 samples analysed fell below the maximum residue level (MRL), 5.1% exceeded this level, of which 3.6% were non‐compliant, i.e. samples exceeding the MRL after taking the measurement uncertainty into account. For the subset of 12,077 samples analysed as part of the EU‐coordinated multiannual control programme, 1.7% exceeded the MRL and 0.9% were non‐compliant. To assess acute and chronic risk to consumer health, dietary exposure to pesticide residues was estimated and compared with health‐based guidance values. Dietary exposure to pesticides for which health‐based guidance values were available is unlikely to pose a risk to EU consumer health. In the rare cases where dietary exposure for a specific pesticide/product combination was calculated to exceed the health‐based guidance value, and for those pesticides for which no health‐based guidance value could be established, the competent authorities took appropriate and proportionate corrective measures to address potential risks to consumers. Recommendations are proposed to increase the effectiveness of European control systems, thereby continuing to ensure a high level of consumer protection throughout the EU.

This publication is linked to the following EFSA Supporting Publications article: