Children's Food Project - 2010-2011 Report on Sampling

Executive Summary

The main objectives of the 2010 - 2011 Children's Food Project (CFP) were to:

  • assess the compliance status for pesticide residues in foods consumed by children aged 0 - 2 years;
  • provide data to Health Canada that can be used for health risk assessment of foods consumed by children;
  • gather preliminary pesticide data from a new scope of pesticide residues in foods commonly consumed by children aged 0 - 2 years.

In the 2010 - 2011 CFP, a total of 879 processed and manufactured food samples were purchased in the Ottawa - Gatineau area. Samples included a variety of biscuits, cereal-, dairy-, fruit- and vegetable based products targeted to and consumed by infants and toddlers aged 0 to 2 years. Sole source nutrition products (i.e., infant formula) were not sampled in the 2010 - 2011 CFP. Samples were analysed for pesticide residues and metals. A total of 2 570 analytical tests were performed, corresponding to over 300 000 results.

Of the 879 samples tested for pesticide residues, 661 (75%) contained no detected pesticide residues. The remaining 218 samples (25%) had detected levels of pesticide residues, with 91 (11%) containing two or more pesticide analytes. Of the 218 samples with detectable levels of pesticide residues, none exceeded established maximum residue limits (MRLs). The overall compliance rate of the 2010 - 2011 CFP was 100%.

There are very few maximum levels (i.e., tolerances or standards and MRLs) established for metals in food. Heavy metals that may pose the greatest inherent risk to human health at low levels include arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. Consistent with previous years' results, the highest arsenic levels were observed in rice-based products. The majority of the metal levels detected were within the range of typical background concentrations observed in similar foods.

Data obtained from studies like the Children's Food Project are instrumental in the assessment of the dietary exposure of Canadian children to pesticide residues and metals. The 2010 - 2011 Children's Food Project represents a typical overview of the nature of pesticide residues and metals in the Canadian food supply.


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