The Europe wide monitoring programme of pesticides in food found that 98.3% of over 78,000 samples were within the maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides permitted in the EU.

During the annual monitoring programme EFSA tested a total of 78,390 samples of 750 different types of food for the presence of 800 different types of pesticide.

Nick von Westenholz, CEO of the Crop Protection Association (CPA) said:

“The findings of EFSA represent good news for consumers, farmers and for the Crop Protection Industry. We are fortunate in the UK to have highly skilled operators committed to the responsible use of pesticides and this contributes to the high levels of food safety that we enjoy in the UK.

“Pesticides are the most heavily regulated products in Europe, it currently takes around ten years, costing £150m, to bring an active ingredient to market. This regulatory process, involving rigorous scrutiny by independent scientific experts, coupled with high standards of stewardship promoted by the Voluntary Initiative (VI), ensures plant protection products are safe for consumers, for the people who use them and for the environment.

“Our industry will continue to strive to improve standards through schemes such as the VI. Even for the very small amount of samples found to have exceeded the legal limits, consumers should rest assured that the presence of residues is unlikely to have any long-term effect on consumer health.

“Pesticides play a key role in helping farmers produce high-quality, healthy and affordable food. Regular monitoring studies such as this are crucial in reassuring consumers that they can trust farmers and have confidence in the safety of their produce.”