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New pesticide maximum levels apply to foodstuffs

Amendment regulation of pesticide maximum levels: From 02.09.2021 new values apply to foodstuffs

The European Union sets maximum levels for each pesticide in its EU pesticide database. These are determined on the basis of toxicological studies and data and are continuously re-evaluated. So it happens that the values have to be adjusted from time to time.

This is exactly what has happened: From 02.09.2021, the amending regulation VO (EU) 2021/155 will come into force. Various active substances will then receive a new maximum limit, which will be particularly relevant for producers of fruit and vegetables.

At GALAB, we examine foodstuffs in our analytical laboratory on a daily basis: Many samples examined in recent years would exceed the new maximum levels. Analysis is a good way for food producers to rule out maximum limit exceedances at an early stage.

For which active ingredients do the new maximum levels apply?

When the new regulation is valid from 02.09.2021, the EU pesticide database will prescribe a new maximum level for the following active substances:

  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Chlorothalonil
  • Chlorpropham
  • Dimethoate
  • Ethoprophos
  • Fenamidone
  • Methiocarb
  • Omethoate
  • Propiconazole
  • Pymetrozine

For most of these active substances, the limit is lowered. In some cases even significantly to 0.01 mg/kg. In this way, the European Union aims to make an important progress in terms of food safety.

For producers of fruit and vegetables in particular, the new regulation poses a number of challenges. A toxicological analysis by GALAB provides information about which pesticides can be found in which quantities in the samples. Our experience over the last few years shows us that the new, low maximum limits could be exceeded by many products.

Which foods are particularly affected?

Past analyses in our laboratory in Hamburg have shown that the new maximum limits will affect tomatoes in particular. The decisive factor here is the substance chlorothalonil. Currently, the maximum level is still 6 mg/kg. When the amending regulation comes into force on 02.09.2021, the new maximum level of 0.01 mg/kg will apply.

According to our findings 93% of the tomatoes (organic and conventional) tested positive for active ingredient chlorothalonil at GALAB would exceed the soon-to-be-applicable maximum limit.

The situation is similar for oranges. The maximum level of propiconazole will be lowered from 9 mg/kg to 0.01 mg/kg by the amending regulation. With the new maximum level, 97% of the orange samples (organic and conventional) with positive findings would exceed the new maximum level.

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