Advanced GC-MS technology for the ultra-trace quantitation of pesticides in baby foods

With the EU enforcing more stringent maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides in baby food, Guillermo García Gallego and Francisco José Díaz-Galiano from the University of Almeria, Spain explore how triple quadrupole gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) can help adhere to strict regulatory guidelines.

Pesticides are highly effective at protecting crop yields during the growing cycle, through to storage and transportation. However, application of pesticides can also lead to residues at trace levels remaining in the produce. As a result, protocols and surveillance programmes are in place to monitor pesticide levels in samples, to ensure they are compliant with maximum residue levels (MRLs).

While the majority of pesticides default to 10 μg/kg,1 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently raised concerns that for some pesticides, the default MRL in baby foods may not be sufficiently protective for infants below the age of 16 weeks.2 The European Union (EU) had previously imposed lower MRLs between 3–8 μg/kg for specific prohibited pesticides in baby foods.3