ITALY, Parma. In 2018, laboratories in the EU Member States more frequently found excessive pesticide residues in animal products. Only eggs showed an improvement.
In 2017, 1.1% of the animal products sampled had pesticide residues above the permitted level. In 2018, the proportion of samples with exceedances rose to 1.7%, according to the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) in its annual report. Excessively high residues of pesticides were occasionally found in pig liver. The objected samples of cow's milk contained more copper than permitted. While for all animal products the proportion of samples rose above the maximum level, the trend for chicken eggs is positive. Here, the percentage with exceedances fell from 0.2% in 2017 to 0.1% in 2018.
Efsa now evaluates residues of plant protection products over the years. As a result, developments in individual foodstuffs can be observed. Overall, the proportion of contaminated food is low. With the help of the national authorities, Efsa found no pesticides in nearly 11,700 samples in 2018 in 58% and residues within the permitted limits in 46.6%. The maximum residue limits were only exceeded in 166 or 1.4% of the samples. If one excludes measurements that are still subject to uncertainties, only 0.5% of the products are definitely contaminated, explains Efsa.