Pesticide monitoring reports

Changed on: 10.10.2019

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 in organic  farming is allowed   only in specific cases,  food from organic farming is not permitted to contain any other pesticide residues.

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 in organic  farming is allowed   only in specific cases,  food from organic farming is not permitted to contain any other pesticide residues.

Situation in Austria

Situation in Austria

National program for monitoring of pesticide residues

According to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC, Member States are obliged to monitor pesticides residues as a part of their national monitoring program.

The national monitoring program in Austria is risk based and focused on examination of consumer exposure and compliance with legal provisions. Sampling is designed upon statistical consideration in order to appropriately cover exposure of the population.

AGES is responsible for the statistical design of the sampling plan. The monitoring plan, together with the collection of typical diets, done by Institute for Nutrition at the University of Vienna, is the basis for the program.

The results are submitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for its annual reports.

The most recent results of the national monitoring are published in annual national reports:
National monitoring report (2017)

Annex to the national monitoring report (2017)

National monitoring reports since 2003

EU monitoring

EU monitoring

Member States of the European Union are obliged to carry out inspections, in order to assure that the food placed on the market does not contain pesticide residues exceeding the maximum residue level (MRL). The European monitoring programs represent one of the most comprehensive programs for food surveys where more than 85000 samples are anylised for more than 600 pesticides.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is responsible for annual reports as regards monitoring activities in Member States, as well as in EEA members Norway and Iceland. Annual reports collect the results from pesticide analysis in food, present non-compliance with MRL and contain estimations of consumer exposure to pesticide residues in food. In addition, EFSA makes a proposal how future monitoring programs could be designed for more efficiency.

EFSA: The 2017 European Union report on pesticide residues in food
European Commission: Pesticide monitoring reports (1996-2006)

Exceedance of maximum limit

Exceedance of maximum limit

The exceedance of a maximum residue level (MRL) does not necessarily mean a health risk to the consumer. If residues exceed the legally specified MRL, it must be further examined, under consideration of exposure, whether toxicological reference values such as ADI (acceptable daily intake) or ARfD (acute reference dose)  are also exceeded or not. Only if toxicological reference values are exceeded health risk to the consumer cannot be ruled out. Following this, the foodstuff is deemed “not safe - not suitable for human consumption” or “not safe - harmful to health”.  These cases are to be notified to the Food Supervisory Authority, the Federal Ministry of Labours, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection and the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), thus permitting further measures for consumer protection.

Further information to risk assessment and toxicological assessment

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