January 16, 2018

CFIA Study on Pesticide Residues in Coffee, Fruit Juice, and Tea

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has released a study examining pesticide residues in coffee, fruit juice, and tea. The study is part of the Agency’s routine testing of various food products, and was intended to generate baseline surveillance data.

The government monitors food “as sold”, not “as consumed”, so brewed coffee and tea were not tested. Scientists tested 1,074 samples of the products, including 297 coffee samples, 510 juice samples, and 267 tea samples. They were analyzed for more than 430 pesticides.

Two of the coffee samples contained detectable pesticide residues. Those were compliant with the government’s maximum residue limits (MRLs) of 0.1 parts per million (ppm).

For the juice samples, 99.6% were compliant with MRLs for pesticides. Two of the juice samples (pineapple and lemon) contained pesticide residues that violated the 0.1 ppm MRL.  Sixty-seven percent of juice not from concentrate had the highest percentage of detected pesticides, while 48% of the juice from concentrate samples had detectable levels, and zero percent of juice concentrates had detectable levels.

The compliance rate for pesticide residues in the tea samples was 75%. There were 66 tea samples that contained at least one pesticide violation of the 0.1 ppm. Oolong tea had the highest percentage of pesticide residue violations, at 75%, followed by white tea at 50%, green tea at 32%, herbal and black tea at 20% each, and other teas at 12%. All of the tea samples had detectable pesticide residues.

The report states that “exposure to these pesticide residues in coffee, juice, and tea is not expected to pose a human health concern to consumers.” No recalls were required. All of the violations were assessed and follow-up action was pursued after the study was completed.

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