The Europe wide monitoring programme of pesticides in food found that 97.5% of a record 79,000 samples were within the maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides permitted in the EU.
During the annual monitoring programme EFSA tested a record total of 79,035 samples of 647 different types of food for the presence of 900 different types of pesticide. The residue analysis focussed on both pesticides approved for use in the EU and those not used in the region.
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 these exceedences are well below levels that could be considered dangerous.
"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."