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Costa Rica complied with the maximum limits of phytosanitary residues in 93% of the cases analyzed in 2019

According to the Costa Rican SFE, more than 5000 fresh vegetables, with 281 more samples than the previous one, were analyzed in order to control compliance with the MRLs.


Samples analyzed.

The State Phytosanitary Service (SFE), of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) of Costa Rica, published this June 9 the report on the results of sampling of maximum residue limits (MRLs) in fresh vegetables for consumption by the population of the year 2019. For this study, 5186 samples of fresh vegetables were taken, of which 3482 correspond to vegetables with the intention of importing. According to the figures in the case of nationally-derived plant products, an improvement in compliance with the MRLs of 4.4% was achieved compared to 2018. In general, products of national and imported origin reflected an increase in compliance of the MRLs of 93.1% compared to 2018, which was 90.7%.

 The annual sampling plan aims to plan controls to analyze compliance with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), so that fresh products comply with the country's safety standards (pesticide residues). The plan includes training actions throughout the national territory (from Guanacaste to Ciudad Neilly), monitoring such as warning notifications, compliance and non-compliance in the case of national products and with the intention of importation, and destruction or return in the case of products with the intention of importing that they do not comply, among other actions. According to study data, 31.7% of the samples corresponded to fruits, 25.2% to vegetables (except legumes or grains), 42.7% to grains and seeds and 0.4% to spices, according to Esaś Miranda, head of the SFE's Waste Control Unit, stated.

The analyzes were carried out at the SFE Agrochemical Waste Laboratory, which has accredited tests for the analysis of 194 different pesticides (including metabolites, which are the substances that form in the degradation process of some pesticides).

All non-compliances at the MRL levels were analyzed and a follow-up process was started, with the support of related institutions and organizations. Both compliant and non-compliant plant products are subjected to a risk analysis in order to define the annual national sampling plan for fresh vegetables. During this year, strengthening actions were integrated, coordinating sampling with hospitals, with the National Production Council (CNP) and with supermarkets, according to Miranda.

Possible reasons for non-compliance include: possible misuse of the manufacturer's instructions (disrespect for the grace period -number of days after the application of a pesticide before harvest- overdosing, lack of equipment calibration); absorption of residues in the soil or due to degradation of the pesticide; non-compliance due to the presence of a banned pesticide in Costa Rica (either due to its degradation or its persistence in the environment).

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