Report on monitoring of pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables: The estimated daily intake is lower than the permitted level and therefore incurs minimal risk ​The Ministry of Health publishes an updated report on potential exposure to pesticides and an analysis of the potential risk from such exposure. The findings of the study, which was carried out in the Ministry of Health’s Food Service, indicates that there is a potential exposure to agricultural pesticides, although in a quantitative assessment of the potential risk, the finding is that the risk is minimal, if any at all.
The report is based on a theoretical assessment of exposure, on actual data collected by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture, and a validation of the risk level accordingly.   The theoretical analysis indicates that the daily estimated consumption is lower than the maximum allowable consumption level, and therefore the causal risk estimate is very low.
Analysis based on the monitoring results: pesticide residues were found in 56.7% of the samples. Pesticide residues levels which exceeded the maximum permissible level were found in 11.24% of the samples.
The residues of the pesticides which were detected, came from 133 active ingredients.   For all of the 133 substances, of which residues were found in food, the national maximum level of estimated daily pesticide intake was calculated.
The investigation showed that for the vast majority of substances, a health risk can be ruled out. A conservative approach, which takes into consideration maximum consumption, it was not possible to rule out risks for 7 substances which are still in use.
The analysis was conducted using the conservative approach, which does not take into consideration the fact that in some of the cases the food gets processed – it is cooked or peeled, in which case the exposure is reduced.
It must be emphasized that the characterization of the risk in this work is based on a maximum consumption level of the pesticide residues in foods, taking into consideration an imprecise marketing diet, as well as on data on residues found in raw, unprocessed products, rather than on residues which are consumed in certain cases from processed foods, such as after cooking or peeling, in which cases the residue levels might be lower.   To summarize, the findings of the study, which was carried out in the Ministry of Health’s Food Service, indicates that there is a potential exposure to agricultural pesticides, although in a quantitative assessment of the potential risk, the finding is that the risk is minimal, if any at all.
These facts notwithstanding, the Ministry of Health continues to lead and promote the reduction and discontinuation of the use of pesticides involving potential public health hazards – a fruitful activity which has seen the discontinuation of use of some of the substances, while the rest will cease to be in use in 2013.
The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the effects of the reduction and cancellation of use of these substances in agriculture – on the public’s exposure to these substances, by continuing to test for pesticide residues in agricultural produce, by assessing exposure and by comparing to the current state.