Lemons and limes only very little burden

Lemons and limes only very little burden / Health News

Stiftung Warentest: Citrus fruits show only low pesticide contamination


While in the past citrus fruits were increasingly contaminated with pesticides, a recent study of the „Stiftung Warentest“ According to now, at least for limes and lemons to see a significant improvement. In only one out of 38 samples tested did the testers find increased pesticide residues. 24 samples were low to very low stress and 13 samples showed no pesticide residues. The 13 pesticide-free samples were, according to the „Stiftung Warentest“ without exception to organic fruits. Because organic farming prohibits the treatment with pesticides or chemical-synthetic pesticides, but also with shell-treatment agents that are applied to the shell after harvesting.

As late as 2010, the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety had warned against pesticide residues in citrus fruits. „Due to the high number of residues per sample and the high average content, the citrus fruits from conventional production are considered to be rather heavily polluted“, so the former conclusion of the authority. However, the load on the different types of fruit was very different. Clementines and lemons showed an average stress situation, while limes as well as oranges performed significantly better. Grapefruit was the strongest burden in the investigation of the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety. Also in the investigation at that time, the organic fruits performed satisfactorily positively and carried according to the authority „their claim as organic products legitimately.“

In the current investigation, the „Stiftung Warentest“ the 38 samples of packaged and loose citrus fruits by means of a so-called „Gas chromatography with mass spectrometry coupling“ (GC-MS / MS) and one „Liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry coupling“ (LC-MS / MS) was examined for the residues of around 450 different pesticides. The results were in the current issue of the journal „test“ (Issue 03/2014) published and show quite a positive development. According to the provisions for maximum residue levels of EU Regulation No. 396/2005, the contamination was clearly too high in only one sample tested. Since the pesticides are on the peel of the fruits, they can be relatively well removed by rinsing with warm water and then rubbing with a dry cloth. Also, the shell is usually not consumed, which further reduces the risk of ingesting the pesticides. Nevertheless, after handling the citrus fruit, it is advisable to wash the hands to remove any adhering residues. (Fp)

Picture: Heiko Stuckmann