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Indicators and Analysis

Residues of Plant Protection Products in Food

Residues of Plant Protection Products in Food

To protect consumers against possible health risks, the official controls of foodstuffs of the German states (Länder) supervise that the applicable maximum levels for plant protection product residues in food are complied with. In general, not every exceedance of the compulsory maximum residue levels poses a health risk. The Länder submit the test results to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) that evaluates such results. It was observed that the residue situation improved significantly in recent years. Still, maximum residue levels are exceeded time and again with regard to domestic products and products from Member States of the European Union and particularly third countries’ products.

Accordingly, the National Action Plan (NAP) aims to further reduce the quota of exceedances of maximum residue levels with regard to food safety.

Such quota is determined by means of the data obtained in the monitoring process of the Länder. Other than data obtained through risk-orientated analysis, such data are representative of the market and serve to assess the actual contamination of consumers.

The BVL established a task force "Plant Protection Product Residues in Food" in 2009. One mission of the task force is to consolidate current analysis data aggregated by the official controls of foodstuffs and by businesses. The other mission is to analyse accumulated occurrences of exceedances of maximum residue levels. In doing so possible causes shall be determined and measures worked out to prevent future exceedances.

To improve the timeliness of the description of the residue situation the BVL publishes since 2009, apart from an annual data evaluation in its "National Report on Plant Protection Product Residues in Food", every three months the data submitted by the Länder in form of a "Quarterly Evaluation".

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment collaborates intensely to develop practicable concepts in the coming years on how to account for multiple residues on a routine basis with regard to the assessment and fixation of maximum residue levels.