Pesticide Residues in Food

One of the principal functions of the Pesticides Branch at SASA is participation in annual UK and EU surveillance programme aimed at the monitoring of multiple pesticide residues in food & drink. A rolling programme, covering the main food groups of fruit and vegetables, cereals and cereal products and products of animal and fish origin, is implemented via specific commodity surveys on samples collected within calendar years. The work is carried out under the auspices of the Defra Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF), and is commissioned by the Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD).

Provision of this service is facilitated by application of a variety of analytical methods that necessitate the use of state-of-the-art instrumentation and a comprehensive quality control system. An integrated analytical approach is required in order to detect, identify, quantify and confirm the presence (or absence) of a wide range of pesticide residues in a variety of matrices, often at sub part per billion levels. 

Find out more on the analytical techniques currently available.

Research Activities

A primary objective is to provide a high quality trace analytical facility at SASA on behalf of the Scottish Government. Consequently, it is an ongoing requirement to develop and adapt analytical methodologies and maintain a critical awareness of technical developments for the following reasons:

  • the continuous introduction of new agricultural pesticides
  • an increased variety and complexity of pesticide/foodstuff combinations
  • greater consumption of imported foods, particularly from countries with different regulations for the application and registration of pesticides
  • reduction in Maximum Residue Levels (MRL)
  • continued improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency of analytical procedures
  • developments in analytical instrumentation and procedures.

See also the list of Pesticide & Chemical Analysis papers and poster presentations.