The Department of Agriculture’s 2020 annual report has found that 80% of food pesticide residue breaches have related to produce of non-Irish origin.

In 2020, 1,354 samples of food intended for human consumption were tested by the Department for compliance with maximum permissible pesticide residue levels. 99.89% of these samples were found to be within the residue limits.

It was noted that 25 of the 31 samples that exceeded maximum permissible pesticide residues had come from produce of non-Irish origin.

Nine samples of non-domestic origin had been detected as breaching the same limit across the Department’s inspections in 2019.


Of the 268 animal feedstuff samples tested by Department inspectors for the presence of animal proteins, nine returned positive results.

The corresponding tests for animal proteins in feed only identified one such breach in 2019 – when animal proteins were found in improperly labelled pet food.

These tests were carried out as part of the framework intended to detect animal proteins in feed that are associated with the transmission of BSE.

Lime and fertiliser

The report’s section on the inspection of fertiliser manufacturers and retailers stated that 193 fertiliser samples had been taken in 2020 for Department laboratories to run 691 separate analyses.

These analyses found 5.8% of the samples to have been out of the tolerated allowance for label accuracy and minimum nutrient requirements.

The same section of the report detailed that 9.8% of the 51 lime samples tested had been found to lie outside of required tolerances for the same metrics.