Photo: Colourbox.dk

Good compliance with pesticide rules in the Danish food supply

Wednesday 04 Dec 19

Contact

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

Contact

Pernille Bjørn Petersen
Senior Academic Officer
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 74 24

Of the 2,121 food samples that were tested as part of the Danish pesticide control in 2018, six of the samples, which exceeded the permitted limit were considered to be a health risk, while no pesticide residues were detected in 60% of the samples. These are some of the findings in the annual pesticide report from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark.

96.4% of the 2,121 food samples that were tested contained either no pesticide detectable residues or residues below the permitted limit set by the EU. Residues were detected in 40% of the samples, while no residues were found in 60% of the samples, according to the annual pesticide report for 2018 from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the National Food Institute.

Based on these results and on current knowledge, the National Food Institute has assessed that there is a low likelihood that Danes are exposed to pesticide residues in foods that pose a health risk.

Choose Danish goods to minimize pesticide intake

In line with previous years, goods of Danish origin generally contained fewer pesticide residues than equivalent imported goods. As such, pesticide residues were detected in 44% of the samples of fruit of Danish origin, while the figure is 72% for fruit produced within the EU and 81% for fruit produced outside the EU.

In vegetables of Danish origin, pesticides were found in 22% of the samples, while the figure is 50% for vegetables produced within the EU and 35% for vegetables produced outside of the EU.

It was also more common to find samples containing residues from more than one pesticide among the imported fruit and vegetables compared to the Danish produce that was tested. In total, 30% of the imported samples contained more than one pesticide compared to 10% of the Danish samples.

If consumers want to try to avoid pesticide residues they can choose organic products.

Residues rarely exceed the permitted limit

In total, 3.6% of all food samples exceed the permitted limit. There are fewer exceedances of the limit in foods produced in Denmark compared with foods from the rest of the EU and significantly fewer than in samples originating outside the EU.

The National Food Institute assesses the risk related to all detections of residues above the permitted limit to determine whether they constituted a health concern.

In 2018, six exceedances were assessed as posing an health risk — in one sample each of wheat flour, papaya and longkong as well as in three samples of mango. Consequently, the goods were withdrawn from the market and a European alert (Rapid Alert) was issued for all of the foods.

In the organic foods, pesticide residues were found in one of the 195 tested samples. The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration that the producer had complied with the rules for organic production in this case.

Read more

Read the whole report: Pesticidrester i fødevarer 2018 – 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.

By combining six years of data from the Danish pesticide control with intake data for different foods, the National Food Institute in May 2019 assessed that Danes are not exposed to pesticide residues in food that pose a health risk by eating the recommended 600 grams of fruit and vegetables every day. This applies whether the pesticides are assessed alone or in combination, regardless of the origin of the food and whether it is conventionally or organically produced.

Read more in the report: Pesticide Residues in Food on the Danish Market- Results from the period 2012-2017 (pdf).

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, baby food and other processed products as well as animal products such as meat, liver, eggs and honey for the presence of pesticide residues. 

The control is made up of two parts: One part is the EU coordinated control programme, which on a three-year cycle examines different foods that contribute most to people’s intake of pesticide residues. Secondly, the national control program, where sampling is more risk-based.

In the national control programme the sampling places an emphasis on:

  • the 25 foods from which Danes receive 95% of their total pesticide intake
  • foods where pesticide residues are most likely to be found
  •  foods which are most likely to exceed the permitted limit.

The pesticide control 2018 tested 2,121 samples from 228 different types of foods for residues of 344 different pesticides.

https://www.food.dtu.dk/english/news/2019/12/good-compliance-with-pesticide-rules-in-the-danish-food-supply?id=9a4535d4-dd11-4cab-ba35-d6dd60ed1260
29 FEBRUARY 2020