European Watchdog Confirms Safety of Europe’s Food

EFSAA report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) watchdog issued on Thursday confirms that Europe’s food supply is among the safest in the world.

The report contains findings from tests carried in 2013 on more than 80,000 samples, showing that overall, 97.4% of these food products were within the maximum residue limits (MRLs) of pesticides permitted in the EU. For the EU-coordinated program covering 12 food commodities, the results showed even higher compliance: 99.1%. MRLs are a strict trading standard under which cut-off points are set well within acceptable safety levels.

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“This is more good news for Europe’s consumers, farmers, retailers, agricultural advisers, authorities and the crop protection industry,” said Jean-Charles Bocquet, director general of the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA). “The report from EFSA confirms that food in Europe is safe. These results once again should foster consumers’ trust in the food they buy and in the whole European supply chain.”

More instances of pesticide residues exceeding MRLs were found in food imported from countries outside the EU (5.7%) than in samples originating from the EU and EEA (1.4%). The EFSA report concludes that the presence of residues found in food in 2013 was unlikely to have a long-term effect on the health of consumers.

“Year after year we welcome these results as a testament to the joint effort made by the farmers and industry in sharing and implementing best practices. They demonstrate both the current high-level skill of pesticide users and the high level of food safety that we continue to see in Europe,” Bocquet said.

“As an industry we are always working to improve on and learn from these results. That’s why we have set up a dedicated project on pesticide residue management that focuses on training and advisory programs. These help reduce residues by promoting Integrated Pest Management principles and good agricultural practices in the EU and also outside of the EU — for example, in Turkey.”