Public Health

29% of the food consumed in Brazil have irregular residues of pesticides

One fact that stands out, according to ANVISA, is the presence of at least two pesticides that have never been registered in the country

Foto: Marcello Casal Jr./ABr
Beans are among foods monitored by ANVISA and presented irregular residues of pesticides
Beans are among foods monitored by ANVISA and presented irregular residues of pesticides

The results of the Program Analysis of Pesticide Residues in Food (TO) (2011/2012) show that 36% of samples in 2011 and 29% of the 2012 samples had results outside allowable limits.

According to the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), there are two types of irregularities, one when the sample contains pesticides above the Maximum Residue Level (MRL) allowed and another when the sample has residues of pesticides not allowed for food researched. Of unsatisfactory samples, about 30% refers to the pesticides being reassessed by ANVISA.

One fact that stands out is the presence of at least two pesticides that were never recorded in Brazil: the azaconazole and tebufempirade. This suggests that the product may have entered the country for contraband.

According to the CEO of ANVISA, Dirceu Barbano, ANVISA has endeavored to eliminate or reduce the risks in food consumption, this also applies to plants. For this reason the agency monitors the levels of pesticides present in cultures. We need to expand the capacity of SNVS to monitor the risk for both the consumer and the producer to preserve the health of the population.

The current report presents the results of 3,293 samples from thirteen monitored foods, including rice, beans, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, among others. The choice of food was based on consumption data obtained by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the availability of these foods in the supermarkets of different units of the federation and the profile of pesticide use in these foods.

"The positive aspect is that the TO has increased the capacity of local authorities to identify the source of food and allow corrective measures are adopted. In 2012, 36% of the samples could be traced back to the producer and 50% to the distributor of food says Barbano.

He completes stating that the results of the TO show that we still need to invest in training of farmers and monitoring of pesticide use. The program of the National Agency for Sanitary Surveillance (ANVISA) continuously evaluates the levels of pesticide residues in foods that reach the consumer's table.