EU food-safety body releases latest data on residue levels

Just under three per cent of a broad range of foods have exceeded maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides, according to a new report issued by the European Food Safety Authority.

The European Union Report on Pesticide Residues in Foods is based on 77,075 samples of more than 500 different foods that were tested for the presence of 982 pesticides.

The report found that MRL exceedance rates for foods imported into Europe stood at 7.9 per cent.

This is more than five times higher than the 1.5 per cent figure for foods originating within Europe.

In addition, organic food samples were reported to have shown an MRL exceedance rate of 0.8 per cent.

The report claimed that 0.4 per cent of food samples - one in 250 - could pose a short-term risk to consumers. But it concluded that pesticide residues pose no long-term risk to consumers' health through their diets.

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