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Crop Residue Analysis: Ensure Produce is Safe to Consume

As a farmer you do not only need to ensure that your crop is healthy, flourishing, and producing a successful yield. You also need to ensure that the pesticide levels in your crop are compliant with the pesticide regulations in your country.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about crop residue analysis.


What is a Residue Analysis?

Residue Analysis can determine the amount of pesticides that have been absorbed into your crop. It indicates the level of toxicity present within the produce and can therefore allow farmers and distributors to follow the correct procedures. In some cases, this will mean that a product cannot be sold if it exceeds the regulatory standards prescribed by a country. Each country has its own standards and regulations pertaining to pesticides and the levels to be permitted in produce. In South Africa, the regulations can be found in section 15(1) of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act.


Why You Should Test for Pesticides

As the population on earth expanded and larger quantities of produce were required to feed the masses, a problem was encountered. Pests were diminishing crop yields. The solution to this was applying pesticides to crops that would deter pests. This increased crop yields and improved the food crisis that was being experienced. However, it was also discovered that pesticides could be harmful to the environment and consumers. Therefore, even though pesticides do perform a great service they can be dangerous. Studies have shown that excessive exposure to pesticides could cause birth defects, cancer, a change in genetics, liver damage, and more. This is why the act of residue testing is so important. We have to ensure that we are not consuming dangerous levels of pesticides but are still producing larger crop yields.


Residue Analysis Services Offered by HKAL

It is required that farmers register with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).  They must then have a residue analysis performed on their crops to prove that they are in compliance with South African pesticide regulations. If a farmer is planning on exporting their produce, they should also conform to the regulations of the country they are exporting to.  HKAL offers a wide range of multi-residue screens. They will perform certain screens depending on the farmer’s requirements and target analysis. They are also able to test for any compounds specifically requested by the client.

Multi Residue Screens

Multi residue screens rely upon GCMS/ GCMSMS and LCMS/ LCHRMS as testing methods to ensure that the levels in a sample are not too high and break regulations. GCMS also referred to as Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry, identifies substances in a sample by making use of and combining the features of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. LCMS is also known as Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry and is used in conjunction with the GCMS method to ensure an accurate result.

Single Residue Analysis

A single residue analysis can be performed alongside a multi residue screen. This tests for the presence and level of specific substances. These include:

  • Glyphosate
  • 24-Hour Ethephon
  • Guazatine
  • Dithiocarbamate
  • Dithianon
  • Phosphonic Acid + Fosethyl Al
  • Chlorates + Perchlorates
  • Alkaline Hydrolysis
  • Chlormequat/Mepiquat
  • Nicotine

Client Specific Testing

If the multi residue screen and single residue analysis can not provide you with the information you require, HKAL is able to perform specific testing. Their staff is highly trained and experienced. They also have access to state-of-the-art equipment and can even identify new compounds.


How to Submit Samples

Submitting a sample is simple and easy. All you need to do is collect a sample of the produce you would like to have tested. You should then package and label the sample correctly. Information to be included on the sample package should consist of customer and account details, information that will help you identify the sample once the test has been performed, as well as which tests need to be performed.


Visit the AgrifoodSA directory to find out more about HKAL and how they can help you ensure your crop is ready to be sold.

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