April 11, 2017 / 11:22 AM / 4 months ago

EU's food safety watchdog says pesticide residues remain low

LONDON (Reuters) - Food consumed in the European Union is largely free of pesticide residues or contains levels within legal limits, posing little or no risk to consumers, the region's food safety watchdog said on Tuesday.

In its annual monitoring report on pesticides in food, the European Food Safety Authority found 97 percent of food samples collected in 2015 were within legal limits, and just over 53 percent were free of quantifiable residues.

Foods tested included aubergines, bananas, broccoli, virgin olive oil, orange juice, peas, sweet peppers, table grapes, wheat, butter and eggs, EFSA said. A total of 84,341 samples were tested for residues of 774 pesticides.

For products from countries within the EU and the European Economic Area, legal limits were exceeded in 1.7 percent of samples, an increase of 0.1 percent from the previous year.

For organic foods, 99.3 percent were residue-free or within legal limits.

Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Edmund Blair

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