Testing of fresh vegetables for pesticide residues determines no health risk to consumers

May 30, 2013, Ottawa: As part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) routine testing of various food products, a study released today found that all samples of domestic fresh vegetables analyzed for over 430 different pesticide residues were safe for consumption.

The CFIA tested a total of 1,024 samples of fresh vegetables sold within the province in which they were grown. These included 130 corn, 165 tomato, 259 potato, 213 leafy green, and 257 carrot samples.

The 2010-2011 study found that 100 percent of corn, 99.4 percent of tomatoes, 99.2 percent of potatoes, 97.7 percent of leafy greens and 97.7 percent of carrots tested met Health Canada’s standards for pesticide residues. The overall compliance rate was 98.6 percent. This result is similar to the high compliance rate for pesticide residues in fresh fruits and vegetables, whether imported or domestic, tested in the 2009-2010 National Chemical Residue Monitoring Program.

Samples with levels in excess of established and general maximum residue limits were assessed by Health Canada and none were expected to pose a health concern to consumers. Therefore, no recalls were required.

When elevated levels of pesticide residues are detected, Health Canada may conduct an assessment to determine if the specific level poses a health risk, based on the contaminant level, the expected frequency of exposure and the contribution to overall diet. These factors help determine whether further action is needed, up to and including product seizure and/or recall. If a human health risk is found, a public recall notice is issued.

Canadians are reminded to wash raw vegetables with clean, running water before preparing and eating them.

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Canadian Food Inspection Agency
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