More residues were found in rice and one sample contained a residue of methyl bromide in excess of the EU Maximum Residue Level (MRL). However, here too there seems to be an overall improvement since the last the last survey in 1996, particularly in respect of the number of samples exceeding MRLs and a reduced incidence of multiple residues. This is an encouraging finding.
It is unsatisfactory to find metamidophos at levels above the MRL in grapes. We understand that residues are likely to be found on this food because it is susceptible to insect and fungal attack and pesticides are therefore likely to be applied more frequently than for other fruits. We have asked PSD to take prompt action [via the EU rapid alert system] if samples taken in 2001 show similar results. Grapes are a commodity which often contain multiple residues and one sample in this survey contained two separate residues above the MRL. A Working Group of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment has been established to advise on the 'cocktail effect' and whether current risk assessment methods need to be adapted to deal with it.