Lemons and limes are very little contaminated

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Stiftung Warentest: Citrus fruits have only low pesticide levels

While in the past citrus fruits were increasingly contaminated with pesticides, a recent study by the “Stiftung Warentest” has now shown a significant improvement, at least in limes and lemons. The testers found increased pesticide residues in only one of 38 samples examined. 24 samples were slightly to very little contaminated and 13 samples showed no pesticide residues. According to the “Stiftung Warentest”, the 13 pesticide-free samples were all organic fruit. Because organic farming prohibits treatment with pesticides or chemical-synthetic pesticides, but also with peel treatment agents that are applied to the peel after harvesting.

In 2010, the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety warned of pesticide residues in citrus fruits. "Due to the high number of residues per sample and the high average content, the examined citrus fruits from conventional production can be regarded as rather heavily contaminated", the authority concluded at the time. However, the burden was very different for the different types of fruit. Clementines and lemons showed an average exposure, while limes and oranges performed significantly better. Grapefruit was the most heavily polluted in the study by the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety. In the investigation at that time, too, the organic fruits were gratifyingly positive and, according to the authority, "justifiably bore their claim as organic products."

In the current study, the “Stiftung Warentest” tested the 38 samples of packaged and loose citrus fruits using a so-called “gas chromatography with mass spectrometry coupling” (GC-MS / MS) and a “liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry coupling” (LC-MS / MS) examined for the residues of around 450 different pesticides. The results were published in the current issue of the magazine "test" (issue 03/2014) and definitely show a positive development. In accordance with the requirements for maximum residue levels in EU Regulation No. 396/2005, the load was only significantly too high in one tested sample. Since the pesticides are on the skin of the fruit, they can also be removed relatively easily by rinsing them with warm water and then rubbing them off with a dry cloth. The peel is usually not consumed, which further reduces the risk of pesticide intake. After handling the citrus fruits, we recommend washing your hands to remove any residue. (fp)

Image: Heiko Stuckmann / pixelio.de

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