• GC-MS/MS;
  • olives;
  • pesticides;
  • washing

ABSTRACT:  The present work aims at contributing to the knowledge of the fate of 5 pesticides in olives in order to evaluate how washing may affect the presence of these residues in this fruit (and consequently in olive oil). For this purpose, olives were sprayed with commercial formulations containing the active ingredients and a series of analyses were performed for 64 d by using gas chromatography with mass spectrometric detection. Selected pesticides, ranked by their importance, were diuron, terbuthylazine, simazine, α-endosulfan, and β-endosulfan. The pesticide fraction, which was not removable from olives by washing, increased with time after treatment until their degradation started at week 6. Washing performed 1 d after treatment was the most effective in reducing residues, especially for simazine. Consequently, the washing step performed in olive mills could be effective in removing those herbicide residues present in olives as a consequence of contact with contaminated soil for a short time. This happens when olives are dropped and harvested off the ground by means of brushes or suction equipment.