Determination of Anionic Polar Pesticides in Spinach Using a Novel Application of Torus DEA Column Chemistry by Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry
Pesticide residues resulting from the use of plant protection products on crops that are used for food or feed production may pose a risk factor for public health.
A comprehensive legislative framework has been established in each country that defines rules for the approval of active substances, the use of plant protection products, and for the maximum amounts of residues permitted in food. Residue definitions are set during the evaluation process of the active substance, which may include relevant metabolites and other transformation products. Food surveillance testing programs check for compliance with maximum residue limits (MRLs) or tolerances, assess dietary exposure, and check for use of unauthorized pesticides. The food industry also undertakes testing of ingredients and finished products for due diligence, brand protection, or product release purposes. Some of the polar pesticides are among the most commonly used plant protection products so there is a need for robust methods to monitor food for residues to ensure compliance with local statutory maximum permitted limits. Where usage is approved, MRLs are often set relatively high (e.g. glyphosate in barley: 20 mg/kg1 in the EU, 30 mg/kg in the U.S.2). Where no MRLs have been set the default MRL “at or about the limit of determination” applies. Although these tend to be higher than the 0.01 mg/kg set for most pesticides, they have been updated and reduced over last few years (0.3–0.1 mg/kg). Some polar pesticides have temporary MRLs or national action limits to facilitate trade.
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