Over 98% of food sampled in the European Union was free of harmful pesticide levels, a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report has found.

Over 110,000 food samples were collected across Europe in 2022, as part of the EU-coordinated control programme (EU MACP).

Some 11,727 samples were analysed and 98.4% were within the legal limits.

Some 47% (5,512) contained one or more residues in concentrations below or equal to permitted levels while just 1.6% (192) contained residues exceeding the permitted levels.

In 2022, 12 products were randomly tested including apples, strawberries, peaches, wine (red and white), lettuces, cabbages, tomatoes, spinaches, oat grain, barley grain, cows' milk and swine fat.

Over 51% (6,023 samples) of food was completely free with no traces of residues found.

The same basket of products is sampled every three years, showing upward or downward trends for the specific commodities.

The overall rate at which pesticide residues exceeded the maximum residue levels, or MRLs, slightly decreased from 2% in 2019 to 1.6% in 2022.

Compared to 2019 and to 2016, the exceedance rate fell for apples, peaches, strawberries, wine, and swine fat; for spinaches, it has fallen since 2019.

No samples of cows' milk with residues above the MRL were found in 2022, as in 2019 and 2016. Exceedances rose for head cabbages, tomatoes, lettuces, barley, and oat grain.

This survey is carried out every year and aims to give a snapshot of the residue levels found in a selection of commonly consumed products.