Photo: Colourbox.dk

Danish crops are more often free from pesticide residues

Thursday 23 Nov 17

Contact

Bodil Hamborg Jensen
Senior adviser
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 74 68

The annual Pesticide Report 2016 from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, shows once again that imported crops significantly more often contain pesticide residues than equivalent Danish products. As a whole, pesticide residues in the concentrations that have been detected do not give rise to health concerns – regardless of production method and where the crops originated.

Danish produce generally contains fewer pesticide residues than equivalent imported products. This is one of the findings of the Pesticide Report 2016 from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the National Food Institute. As such, consumers can minimize their intake of pesticides by choosing Danish fruits and vegetables – or they can choose organically produced products in order to avoid pesticide residues altogether.

The report shows that pesticide residues were more often found in samples of conventionally grown fruit (69%) than in samples of conventionally grown vegetables (43%).

Pesticide residues were found in 45% of the fruit samples of Danish origin, 72% of fruit samples from other EU countries and 74% of fruit samples from outside of the EU. Pesticides were found in 27% of vegetable samples of Danish origin, while the figures for vegetables from other EU countries and from outside the EU are 55% and 43% respectively.

Residues from more than one pesticide in the same sample were found more frequently in imported fruit and vegetables compared to the Danish produce that was tested. In total 33% of the imported samples contained more than one pesticide compared to 10% of the Danish samples.

No health risk

The National Food Institute estimates that pesticide residues in the concentrations detected in the Pesticide Report 2016 generally do not constitute a health risk, when you eat a standard, varied diet - regardless of production method and where the crops originated.

Calculations from the institute also show that consumers can halve their intake of pesticides by choosing Danish crops where possible.

Only a few samples exceed the allowable limits

In total, 97% of the samples of conventionally grown, unprocessed fruit, vegetables and cereals contained either no pesticide residues or residues below the allowable limit.

The detected pesticide residues only gave rise to health concerns in only two cases (imported turnip and mango samples). As a consequence the Danish Veterinary and Food and Administration recalled the consignments of turnips and mangoes from the market and sent out a European alert regarding the pesticide content in the mango sample.

Out of a total of 246 samples of organic foods, pesticide residues have been found in eight (3.3%) samples. The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has assessed that the rules for organic production have been breached in three of those cases.

Read more

Read the whole report: Pesticidrester i fødevarer 2016 – Resultater fra den danske pesticidkontrol (pdf – available in Danish only).

The annual pesticide report from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the National Food Institute is based on quarterly monitoring data, which is regularly published in quarterly reports. These reports are available in Danish only on the institute’s website: Pesticides in the diet.

Please also read about the National Food Institute’s study of the pesticide load in Danish and imported fruit and vegetables in a press release from 5 September 2016: Pesticide load still lowest in Danish crops.

Facts about the Danish pesticide control

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, jointly carry out the Danish pesticide control, which examines samples of fruits, vegetables, cereals, processed products and meat for the presence of pesticide residues. The samples are from Danish as well as imported foods sold on the Danish market. 

It is a risk-based control where an emphasis is placed on:

  • the 25 foods from which contribute 95% of Danes’ intake of pesticide
  • foods which are most likely to contain pesticide residues
  • foods which are most likely to exceed the acceptable limit.

The pesticide control 2016 tested 2,515 samples from approximately 200 different types of foods for residues of more than 300 pesticides.

http://www.food.dtu.dk/english/news/nyhed?id=e7226ba6-e1f1-4659-8a92-146c2a128f3f
11 DECEMBER 2017