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Almost all foods in Denmark comply with pesticide rules

Thursday 08 Nov 18

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

Contact

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

More than half of the 2,009 food samples that were tested in 2017 as part of the Danish pesticide control are free from detectable pesticide residues.

The annual pesticide report for 2017 from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, shows that 97% of the 2,009 food samples that were tested contain either no pesticide residues or residues below the permitted limit. The samples of fruit, vegetables, processed and animal products were tested for residues of 326 different pesticides. 

Generally, Danish produce contains fewer residues than equivalent imported products. As such, consumers can minimize their pesticide intake by choosing Danish produce in the fruit and vegetable section, or they can opt for Organic varieties.

Based on the current knowledge, the National Food Institute estimates that exposure to pesticides is unlikely to pose a health risk to Danes. 

Imported samples more often contain pesticide residues

Residues were detected in 48% of the fruit samples of Danish origin, while the figure is 76% for fruit produced within the EU and 73% for fruit produced outside of the EU.

In vegetables of Danish origin, residues were detected in 27% of the samples, while the figure is 52% for vegetables produced within the EU and 48% for vegetables produced outside of the EU.

It was also more common to find samples that contained residues from more than one pesticide among the imported fruit and vegetables compared to the Danish produce that were tested. In total, 33% of the imported samples contained more than one pesticide compared to 11% of the Danish samples.

Residues rarely exceed the permitted limit

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 2017, four exceedances (in imported longkong, dragon fruit, yardlong bean and rice) were assessed as posing an unacceptable risk to health. Consequently, the goods were withdrawn from the market and a European alert was issued for three of the foods.

Out of 179 samples of organic foods, three contained pesticide residues. The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has assessed that the producer had complied with the rules for organic production in all three cases.

Read more

Read the whole report: Pesticidrester i fødevarer 2017 – 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.

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, processed products and meat for the presence of pesticide residues. The samples are Danish as well as imported foods sold on the Danish market. 

It is a risk-based control where an emphasis is placed on:

  • the 25 foods from which contribute 95% of Danes’ intake of pesticide
  • foods which are most likely to contain pesticide residues
  • foods which are most likely to exceed the acceptable limit.

The pesticide control 2017 tested 2,009 samples from 214 different types of foods for residues of 326 different pesticides.

 

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17 DECEMBER 2018