Pesticide monitoring reports

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Changed on: 25.07.2016

Pesticide Monitoring Reports

Pesticide residues are monitored throughout Europe as part of a monitoring programme that is obligatory for all member states due to European Commission regulations. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) regularly produces reports from the data gathered in European states, which on the one hand serve to provide information on contamination of foodstuffs available in the EU. On the other, this data can be used to asses any possible hazards to consumers and to counteract these, e.g. by amending the existing maximum limits.

The monitoring programme will run for several years and is internationally coordinated. European states draw up national monitoring programmes that have monitoring checks integrated within them as part of the EU monitoring programme. In collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, AGES has designed a sampling plan for the implementation of EU monitoring in Austria. This specifies in detail which foodstuffs are to be sampled and to what extent, in order to obtain a realistic picture of the actual situation by means of testing.  In addition, statistically generated food consumption data, availability of foodstuffs through production and import, and experience from previous monitoring programmes were all taken into account.

Sampling is carried out all over Austria by inspectors from the regional official food supervisory authorities (federal state authorities). As well as foodstuffs from conventional production, foodstuffs from organic farming are also monitored. Since the use of synthetic pesticides is prohibited for the latter, “organic” foodstuffs are not permitted to contain any pesticide residues.

Links to the reports: EU’s 2013 annual report on pesticides and 2013 national pesticide monitoring Programme (in German).

Pesticide residues are monitored throughout Europe as part of a monitoring programme that is obligatory for all member states due to European Commission regulations. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) regularly produces reports from the data gathered in European states, which on the one hand serve to provide information on contamination of foodstuffs available in the EU. On the other, this data can be used to asses any possible hazards to consumers and to counteract these, e.g. by amending the existing maximum limits.

The monitoring programme will run for several years and is internationally coordinated. European states draw up national monitoring programmes that have monitoring checks integrated within them as part of the EU monitoring programme. In collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, AGES has designed a sampling plan for the implementation of EU monitoring in Austria. This specifies in detail which foodstuffs are to be sampled and to what extent, in order to obtain a realistic picture of the actual situation by means of testing.  In addition, statistically generated food consumption data, availability of foodstuffs through production and import, and experience from previous monitoring programmes were all taken into account.

Sampling is carried out all over Austria by inspectors from the regional official food supervisory authorities (federal state authorities). As well as foodstuffs from conventional production, foodstuffs from organic farming are also monitored. Since the use of synthetic pesticides is prohibited for the latter, “organic” foodstuffs are not permitted to contain any pesticide residues.

Links to the reports: EU’s 2013 annual report on pesticides and 2013 national pesticide monitoring Programme (in German).

Situation in Austria

Situation in Austria

Comparison with previous monitoring programmes shows a pronounced drop in the number of times maximum limits have been exceeded since 2008. Statutory maximum limits that have been harmonised across Europe prevent the importation of severely contaminated goods into Europe, in addition to which, pesticide reduction programmes in the trade chains and improved agricultural practice by producers have contributed to an increase in the quality of foodstuffs in Austria.

2014 National (Pesticide) Monitoring Programme – preliminary evaluation*

Within the scope of the 2014 National (Pesticide) Monitoring Programme, 825 foodstuffs were analysed, of which 169 samples (20.5 %) were from organic farming. Depending on the foodstuff, samples were each tested for up to 550 different substances.

Preliminary principal findings:

• 803 (99.97 %) of the samples analysed fell within legal limits;
• 22 samples (from conventional farming) exceeded the legal limits;
• Prohibited residues were found in 7 samples (4.1 %) from organic farming and no multiple residues were detected;

In 2014 the products organic lentils and flaxseed received particularly close attention. As in previous years, it was also confirmed in 2014 that the prohibited herbicides (glyphosate, fluazifop) were being used in spite of a ban. In addition to foodstuffs from conventional production, foodstuffs from organic farming are also monitored within the scope of the national monitoring programme and the results are made available to the public in the annual results reports.

* Excerpts of findings. The complete report on the 2014 National Pesticide Monitoring Programme is in progress and will soon be published at www.verbrauchergesundheit.gv.at.

 

 

EU monitoring

EU monitoring

In over 97 % of the foodstuffs monitored across Europe, pesticide residues were detected that fell within the legal limits, according to the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) 2013 annual report on pesticide residues published in March 2015.  The report contains data from the 27 EU member states as well as from Iceland and Norway. A total of almost 81,000 foodstuff samples were tested for 685 pesticides.

Principal findings:

  • 97.4 % of samples analysed fell within legal limits;
  • 54.6 % of samples were free of detectable residues;
  • 1.5 % of samples clearly exceeded the legal limits, thus triggering (administrative) legal sanctions against the food business operators responsible;  

Residues of more than one pesticide (multiple residues) were found in 27.3 % of samples;
The EFSA continues to assess whether dietary exposure to pesticide residues in food presents a risk to consumer health. Adverse health effects due to long-term exposure were rated as unlikely and the risk presented by short-term exposure was rated as low. 

For further information see: EFSA 2013 annual report on pesticides.

Exceedance of maximum limit

Exceedance of maximum limit

Exceedance of a maximum limit does not automatically entail a health risk to the consumer. If a legally prescribed maximum level is exceeded, additional testing establishes whether toxicological reference values such as ADI (acceptable daily intake) or ARfD (acute reference dose) have been exceeded. Only if these levels are exceeded can a health risk to the consumer no longer be ruled out and only then is the foodstuff deemed “not safe - not suitable for human consumption” or “not safe - harmful to health”.  In these cases, the Food Supervisory Authority, the Ministry of Health and the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) are notified, thus permitting further measures for consumer protection.

 

 


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