Pesticide Residues Survey in Citrus Fruits

Pesticide residues survey in citrus fruits

Didier Ortelli , Patrick Edder , Claude Corvi

Service de protection de la consommation, 22 quai, Ernest-Ansermet, CP76, 1211, Genève 4, Switzerland


The use of pesticides is widespread in citrus fruits production for pre- and post-harvest protection and many chemical substances may be applied in order to control undesirable moulds or insects. A survey was carried out to evaluate levels of pesticide residues in citrus fruits.

Two multiresidue analytical methods were used to screen samples for more than 200 different fungicides, insecticides and acaricides. A total of 240 samples of citrus fruits including lemon, orange, mandarin, grapefruit, lime, pomelo and kumquat were taken in various markets in the Geneva area during the year 2003.

Ninety-five percent of the 164 samples issued from classical agriculture contained pesticides and 38 different compounds have been identified. This high percentage of positive samples was mainly due to the presence of two post-harvest fungicides, imazalil and thiabendazole, detected in 70% and 36% of samples respectively.

Only three samples exceeded the Swiss maximum residue limits (MRLs). Fifty-three samples sold with the written indication “without post-harvest treatment” were also controlled.

Among theses samples, three exceeded the Swiss MRLs for penconazole or chlorpyrifos and 18 (34%) did not respect the written indication since we found large amounts of post-harvest fungicides. Finally, 23 samples coming from certified organic production were analysed.

Among theses samples, three contained small amounts of pesticides and the others were pesticides free.

Food Additives & Contaminants Issue: Volume 22, Number 5 / May 2005 Pages: 423 - 428

DOI: 10.1080/02652030500089903

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