by Marine Jobert
translated by Samuel White
Bananas contain more pesticide residues
any other product analyzed.
More than 97% of European food products contain pesticide residues,
according to analyses carried out by the EU's national authorities,
Journal de l'Environnement reports.
The European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA)
annual compilation of results from studies across the EU on the
presence of pesticides in food products held no surprises.
Of the 84,341 samples of
produce from conventional agriculture analyzed, 97.2% contained
traces of one or more of 774 pesticides.
53.3% of the samples tested in 2015 were "free of quantifiable
residues" - which does not mean they were pesticide-free - while
43.9% contained residues "not exceeding legal limits".
Meanwhile, 99.3% of
organic food was free from residues or within legal
To meet EU standards, the residues of any pesticide present in a
product must not exceed two times the legal limit. But these values
are highly contested, particularly for endocrine disruptors, which
can be active at very low concentrations.
In 2015, the analysts' shopping basket included,
virgin olive oil
While some samples of
each product were found to contain residues of multiple pesticides,
the results for bananas (58.4%) and raisins (58.3%) were the most
striking, followed by peppers (24.4%).
Three quarters of the sample batch came from EU countries (plus
Norway and Iceland), with the other quarter coming from unspecified
These imports pose the
greatest risk to consumers, with 5.6% found to contain pesticide
residues above the EU limits. Among EU-sourced produce, 1.7% of
samples were over the legal limits.
One third of all the
pesticides detected are illegal in the European Union.