• Open Access

The 2010 European Union Report on Pesticide Residues in Food


  • European Food Safety Authority

  • Correspondence: pesticides.mrl@efsa.europa.eu
  • Acknowledgement: EFSA wishes to thank EFSA's staff members Daniela Brocca, Paula Medina-Pastor, Ileana Miron, Hermine Reich and Giuseppe Triacchini for the preparation of this scientific output. Furthermore, EFSA wishes to thank Erica Muller (Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority) and Caroline van der Schoor (Dutch Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides) for their independent scientific review of the report. In addition, EFSA wishes to thank the members of the Networking Group on Pesticide Monitoring and national experts for the support provided to the preparation of this report. Finally, the contribution of EFSA's contractor (The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety - AGES) is acknowledged.
  • Approval date: 28 February 2013
  • Published date: 12 March 2013
  • Question number: EFSA-Q-2010-00163
  • On request from: EFSA


This report presents the results of the control of pesticide residues in food commodities sampled during the calendar year 2010 in the 27 EU Member States and two EFTA countries (Iceland and Norway). The report also comprises the outcome of the consumer risk assessment of pesticide residues. EFSA presents for the first time the results of a pilot cumulative risk assessment (CRA) to multiple chemical residues. Finally, the report provides some recommendations aimed at the improvement of the future monitoring programmes and the enforcement of the European pesticide residue legislation. In total, more than 77,000 samples of approximately 500 different types of food (raw or processed) were analysed for pesticide residues by national competent authorities. Considering the results concerning both the national and the EU-coordinated programmes, the total number of analytical determinations reported among all the countries amounted to more than 14 million. The results of the EU-coordinated programme for 2010 showed that 1.6% of total samples analysed exceeded the European legal limits (MRLs). EFSA concluded that the long-term exposure of consumers did not raise health concerns. In assessing the short-term exposure, the pesticide monitoring results revealed that a risk could not be excluded for 79 samples concerning 30 different pesticides if the pertinent food was consumed in high amounts. The results of the CRA are considered indicative as the work on establishing which groups of pesticides are expected to share the same toxicological effects is not yet complete and the final methodological approach needs to be further elaborated. The outcome of the pilot CRA demonstrated that the exposure calculations are affected by significant uncertainties, mainly related to the analytical results reported as “non-detected”. The methodology used in this pilot exercise will be further revised to reduce the uncertainties of the exposure assessment.