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Intake of pesticides from cereals

Intake calculations are not available for many European countries and if they are available they often cannot easily be analysed to the intake of pesticides from cereals. Focus is often on the intake from fruit and vegetables since the primary intake is from these food items.

The intake of pesticide residues from cereals has been evaluated on the basis of Danish consumption data and on the results of the Danish monitoring programme (18). The total intake of pesticide residues from cereals was estimated at 18 g/day/person in 2007. The intake from wheat alone was estimated at 15.4 g/day/person. The estimated intake from cereals accounted for 21% of the estimated total intake of pesticide residues from food and beverages of 83 g/day.

Calculations of intake from cereals based on cereal consumption data and monitoring data from European countries besides Denmark are a challenge and have been lacking in previous versions of this document. The reason for this is that results from the EU coordinated monitoring programme and the MS national programmes are reported by the individual MS in intervals and intake calculations cannot be calculated on such intervals.

Earlier in this document it was concluded that EU citizens in general consume more wheat than any of the other types of cereals. It has also been concluded that the consumption of wheat for an average EU citizen is in the same order as for a Danish citizen. So if it could also be documented that the residues found in Denmark and other EU MS are similar (quantitatively and qualitatively) the intake of pesticides from cereals by EU citizens could be estimated to be similar to the estimated Danish intake.

The studies available in the literature are case studies reporting the intake of a certain group of pesticides (19) , e.g. organochlorine pesticides or dithiocarbamates. The results in the EU monitoring report from 2006 (20) can be used and these have been compared with the monitoring data used to estimate the Danish intake. In 2006 a total of 1531 samples of wheat were analysed, 1112 samples were without detectable residues (73%), 417 samples were with residues below or at MRL (40.8%), and two were with residues above MRL (0.1%). The most frequently occurring pesticide-commodity combination was chlormequat in wheat and pirimiphos-methyl in wheat, in 36.41% and 10.27% of wheat samples, respectively (all other pesticides occurred in ≤ 5% of the samples).

In comparison, data from the Danish monitoring programme revealed that chlormequat and pirimiphos-methyl were found in 33% and 17.5% of the wheat samples. This should be compared to the average consumption of wheat for an EU citizen of 3.3 g/kg bw/day and a Danish citizen of 2.0 g/kg bw/day, Table 2 3. For many years Danish people have eaten less wheat than the average EU citizen, instead they eat more rye and oat. However, in 2007, wheat was the second most important crop for the intake of pesticides in Denmark and rye bread was only number 20 on that list, which means that in this perspective the Danish diet is more similar to the European diet than before. Because the most frequently found pesticides are the same for Europe and Denmark, and found with same the frequency, and because the consumption of wheat is also in the same order, it would be expected that the estimated intake for Danish citizens is similar to the average intake by EU citizens.

Find more information in the menu below:

Introduction to cereals and feeding stuff


Consumption of cereals in the EU-member states

Pesticides authorised for use in cereals

Pesticides authorised for use on rice

Pesticides often found in cereals in the EU coordinated programme

Intake of pesticides from cereals

Feeding Stuff

Consumption of feeding stuff in EU

Composition of feed

Pesticides authorised for use in feeding stuff

Pesticides residues in animal feeding stuff

MRLs and toxicological data

Feasibility to include the pesticide in multiresidue methods


Download the Report "Cereals and feeding stuff - production, consumption and pesticides"



Published 09-07-2010, 14:47:12


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