2008-2009 Pesticides Residues and Metals in Fruit Juice Concentrates

Executive Summary

The Food Safety Action Plan (FSAP) aims to modernize and enhance Canada's food safety system. As part of the FSAP enhanced surveillance initiative, targeted surveys are used to test various foods for specific hazards.

The main objectives of the fruit juice concentrate survey were:

  • To provide baseline surveillance data for pesticide residues and metals in fruit juice concentrates
  • To obtain a snapshot of the increasingly-consumed imported fruit juice concentrates where pest control measures are not under the authority of the Canadian Government

There were 186 fruit juice concentrate samples collected and analyzed in the targeted survey. The samples included 22 different types of fruit juice concentrates from 23 countries. The top import countries of fruit juice concentrates were targeted, which include the United States, Brazil and Argentina. The samples were analyzed for pesticide residues and metals using multi-residue and multi-metal methods. In total, 186 multi-residue tests (55 800 pesticide analyses) and 186 multi-metal tests (3 348 metal analyses) were conducted on the 186 samples.

The pesticide multi-residue method can detect about 300 individual carbamate, organochlorine and organophosphate compounds. The multi-metal method can detect 18 metal elements, including aluminum, arsenic, antimony, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, lead, selenium, tin, titanium and zinc.

Of the 186 samples tested, 146 (78.49%) contained no detectable pesticide residues. The remaining 40 samples had detectable levels of pesticide residues, of which 14 had more than one detectable pesticide residue. All survey samples with detected pesticide residues were in compliance with paragraph 4(d) of the Food and Drugs Act, specifically, the juice concentrate products are not adulterated. All detected pesticide residues were in compliance with existing Canadian Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs).

All 186 samples were tested for metals. Many of the metals included in the analysis occur naturally in fruit juice concentrates and are essential nutrients for humans. Increased levels of metals (i.e. arsenic, lead) may occur in fruit juice concentrates as a result of 1)  pesticide applications (when applied directly (copper) or when included as a component of a pesticide formulation), 2) environmental contamination and 3) food processing/packaging. Although higher than expected levels of manganese were found in some pineapple juice concentrate samples, these levels and all other levels of the detected metals in fruit juice concentrates did not pose a human health risk when consumed as single-strength products.

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