Before you start wondering if you should buy organic ingredients this Thanksgiving, it is good to know regulating bodies set and monitor allowable pesticide limits within our food supply. Pesticides that help control pests, disease, and deter unwanted animals from eating supplies found in fields, mills, and facilities. How and when this testing takes place in the United States is overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) according to five primary regulating statutes.
Subsequently the FDA and the USDA test domestic and international foods for which standards are set based on risk assessment. The next step is for the supplier to submit a food sample to a testing lab using proper sampling techniques. Although it is argued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not perform enough testing.
What Happens When Food Meets the Lab?
For the sake of this post, I will focus on what happens when the food samples meet the lab technicians. Mass spectrometry is a highly successful testing method for high-throughput routine pesticide testing, screening, quantitation, and confirmation. If a fruit or vegetable contains residue, this procedure will find it. Instrumentation such as the X500R QTOF Mass Spectrometer can make conventional pesticide testing a breeze for any lab. Factor in the SCIEX OS software platform and data processing becomes quick, efficient and accurate. Multi-pesticide testing is much more comprehensive than single sample testing and can be achieved using the SCIEX Pesticide Library, which maintains more than 550 pesticides with completely acquired spectra to compliment analysis.
Science is on top of pesticides not only in fruits and vegetables but grains as well as they can contain mycotoxins that can lead to serious illness or worse in some instances. Key mycotoxins such as Ochratoxin A, Deoxynivalenol and Zearalenone can be analysed by labs using the Rapid iMethod Test, a complete and validated solution to ensure low-level mycotoxin detection. To ensure the best quality data from samples labs would want to incorporate the Mycotoxin Library, which contains more than 280 compounds.
2014 Pesticide Residue Results
SCIEX is dedicated to providing solutions for food manufacturers, providers and testing laboratories in their quest to deliver the safest food so that we can all enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner. In 2014, pesticide residue turned up in more than half of food tested by the U.S. government although most were within acceptable limits.