The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released a report which shows no risk to human health from pesticide residues on food in the EU.

However, spinach was outlined among the products which commonly breached limits.

Of a total of 96,302 samples, 96.1% of food tested was reported to be below the maximum residue levels (MRL), with 3.9% exceeding limits and 2.3% non-compliant.

The report is based on 2019 and takes in data from the EU, Iceland and Norway.

The most common pesticides found to exceed the MRLs are outlined below along with the number of cases.

Pesticides noted for exceeding MRLs:

  • Chlorpyrifos (29).
  • Lambda-cyhalothrin (21).
  • Pyraclostrobin (20).
  • Deltamethrin (16).
  • Tebuconazole (16).
  • Acetamiprid (13).
  • Chlorpyrifos, an insecticide, was banned in the EU in January 2020. Pyraclostrobin and tebuconazole are fungicides, while the remaining products are insecticides.

    One-hundred-and-eighty-two pesticides were tested for acute exposure by the food safety watchdog on 19,767 samples.

    It should be noted that these samples are from all food, including imports into the regions. Of these samples, 0.9% exceeded the health-based guidance value.

    The EFSA has suggested that the number of samples taken on different commodities be revisited.

    Apples, lettuce, peaches, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes and wine grapes were crops noted for exceeding limits.

    Six-point-seven percent of spinach tested had high exceedance rates of MRLs.

    The report also commented that non-approved pesticides were found in food imported from third countries.