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Danish fruits and vegetables are least burdened with pesticide residues

Saturday 28 Jun 14
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Jens Hinge Andersen
Emeritus
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 72 52

Contact

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

Pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables on the Danish market do not present a health concern to people who eat an average and varied diet. These findings appear from a study performed by the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, for the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, where different types of crops were ranked according to their content of pesticide residues. In general, Danish fruits and vegetables are less burdened with pesticide residues than similar foreign foods.

Each year the National Food Institute examines fruits and vegetables on the Danish market for pesticide residues for the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. In a new study the National Food Institute used data about pesticide residues in different crops from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration’s pesticide control programmes in the period 2008-2012 to rank fruits and vegetables according to their burden of pesticide residues. The burden is calculated from the total of all detected pesticide residues related to the acceptable daily intake of these pesticides.

It is not possible to make an accurate ranking of the different crops because of uncertainties related to the methods used in the study. However, in essence the study concludes that Danes are not exposed to a health risk from pesticides by eating fruits and vegetables as part of a varied diet, as the acceptable daily intake for each pesticide is not exceeded.

Less exposure from Danish crops

If, nevertheless, consumers wish to reduce the intake of pesticide residues they can choose Danish produced crops instead of similar foreign foods. For most crops the pesticide burden is significantly smaller in Danish produced foods. In general, you can almost reduce the intake of pesticide residues by 50% by eating Danish foods.

Consumers who wish to avoid pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables completely may choose organic foods. Findings from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration’s control programmes show that organic samples are free of detected pesticide residues.

Read more

Please find the report Pesticides in fruits and vegetables in the period 2008-2012 – ranking of fruits and vegetables as well as a supplement and detailed Excel sheets on the National Food Institute’s website (available in Danish only).

See also the institute’s press release from January 2014: Færrest sprøjterester i dansk frugt og grønt (available in Danish only).

This study compared the pesticide burden of Danish with foreign crops. However, it is important to note that even though foreign crops are regarded as one group there may be huge differences in the pesticide burden from country to country.

https://www.food.dtu.dk/english/news/2014/06/danish-fruits-and-vegetables-are-least-burdened-with-pesticide-residues?id=faf2a37a-bc55-4dee-a925-3f4590ec39c6
25 JANUARY 2020