2008-2009 Pesticides Residues in Pickled Vegetables

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 pickled vegetables survey were:

  • To provide baseline surveillance data for pesticide residues in pickled vegetables
  • To obtain a snapshot of the domestic and imported pickled vegetables

There were 659 (203 domestic, 456 imported) pickled vegetable samples collected and analyzed in the targeted survey. The samples included 43 different types of pickled vegetables from 32 countries. Most of the samples (59%) were pickled cucumbers, gherkins, and olives. The top import countries of pickled vegetables were targeted, which include the United States, India and Greece. The samples were analyzed for pesticide residues using a multi-residue method which can detect 286 distinct carbamate, organochlorine and organophosphate compounds. In total, 659 multi-residue tests (188 474 pesticide analyses) were conducted on the 659 samples.

Of the 659 samples tested, 607 (92.11%) contained no detected pesticide residues. The remaining 52 samples had detected levels of pesticide residues, of which only one had two detected pesticide residues. All 53 detected pesticide residues were in compliance with existing Canadian Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs).

The study also showed that there was no significant difference between domestic and imported pickled vegetable compliance rates. There was no relationship between residue type or commodity or country and the proportion of detected residues.

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