(Editor’s Note: This is an online-only article attributed to the December/January 2018 issue.)
Strawberries’ popularity partly can be attributed their high levels of healthy substances, such as dietary fiber and polyphenols. However, strawberries are among the most challenging horticultural crops to grow. Growers must manage the multitude and complexity of pest issues. Chemical plant protection agents, particularly against insect, mite, and disease control, have been a critical component in maintaining crop yield and quality standards.
In order to protect consumers from the adverse effects of residues, maximum residue levels (MRL) have been established by the European Commission. The MRLs represent the highest expected residue concentration if a pesticide is applied according to good agricultural practice. Thus, products that comply with the MRLs are considered by the authorities to be safe and legally marketable.
Alongside public regulations, there has been a development of private standards by major food retail groups. Those specifications are in some cases drastically lower (in some cases 1/3 or lower) than the official MRLs or other parameters like Acute Reference Dose.
In a routine control analysis, laboratories therefore have to perform an analysis of the fruit to evaluate the legal marketability regarding MRLs. EU regulation No 752/2014 stipulates that for berries and small fruits, the MRL is applied to the whole product after removal of caps, crown, and stems (except currants). In the case of strawberries, the crown leaves have to be removed. However, no data has been found in literature about the residue distribution between fruit and leaves and, hence, about the influence of processed leaves on the residue concentration of the edible part. No indication exists to what extent the crown has to be removed by generous cutting or precise removal.
The aim of a recent study was to investigate the pesticide residue distribution between leaf and fruit to assess the risk, if the crown is not completely removed.| | | Next → | Single Page